Wage and Hour Opinions Provide Pay Exemption Guidance

Gail L. Peek

by Gail Peek

The U.S. Department of Labor published a host of letter opinions on exemptions from pay.  I have attached the letter opinions to this article.  These opinions were rendered in the latter part of August.

While letter opinions do not have the force of a court ruling, they do give us some insight into how the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division might interpret exemptions as they apply to the way employers pay their employees.

These recent letter opinions touch on a variety of areas.   For example, I have clients who ask about compensating employees for travel time.  Wage and Hour Letter Opinion FLSA2018-18 clarifies when time is to be compensated based on the fact pattern that was described to the Department of Labor.

I also have a client who has an auto repair shop that compensates its top technicians based on jobs and commissions.  These technicians are exempt from overtime pay under the Section 7(i) exemption.  The documentation must be accurate and clear in order for this exemption to apply.  The first question is whether the business qualifies as an establishment.  Wage and Hour Letter Opinion FLSA2018-21 provides some guidance in this area.

The recent letter opinions also touch on healthcare.  Wage and Hour Letter Opinion FLSA2018-19 sheds light on a situation in which an employee has a medical reason for more frequent breaks than would otherwise be the case.  The employer wanted guidance on how to handle compensating the employee for the additional breaks required in light of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Also, Wage and Hour Letter of Opinion FLSA2018-20 addresses the question of compensating employees who voluntarily participate in biometric screening programs.

It is important to remember that these letter opinions are based on specific facts and circumstances presented to the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

Beard Kultgen is ready to assist you with questions about these opinions.