The Contractors Plan logo

Labor Secretary Reinstates Wage And Hour Opinion Letters

July 17, 2017


Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta recently announced that the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) would reinstate the issuance of opinion letters as one of their means of guiding covered employees and businesses. The action restores the WHD’s long-standing practice of releasing opinion letters regarding the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act and its implementing regulations. 

For more than 70 years’ opinion letters had been a common practice for the WHD, but in 2010 they were replaced with “general guidance” which was intended to provide a broader administrator interpretation. Secretary Acosta has been a firm advocate of returning to the use of opinion letters, believing that they will benefit the employees and employers by providing a clearer understanding of Wage and Hour requirements.

Opinion letters are an official, written notice by the WHD of how a specific law applies in particular circumstances submitted by an employer, employee or other entity requesting the opinion. The WHD has a dedicated web page (https://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/) that the public may use to see if agency guidance already exists that address their question or where a request can be submitted.