No More Opinion Letters from Wage and Hour Division

April 14, 2010 ( – The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced it will no longer publish opinion letters to provide fact-specific guidance to employers and employees.

According to an article by James M. Coleman and Maureen R. Knight, attorneys in the Fairfax, Virginia, office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith LLP, in the future requests for opinion letters will be responded to by providing references to statutes, regulations, interpretations and cases that are relevant to the specific request, but without an analysis of the specific facts presented, called “administrator’s interpretations.”   

While opinion letters responded to specific situations, the administrator’s interpretations will “set forth a general interpretation of law and regulations, applicable across-the-board to all those affected by the provision in issue,” the article said.

While opinion letters responded to each request from employers, employees, unions and attorneys, the “administrator’s interpretations” will be written only when the administrator believes that an interpretation is warranted or determines that “further clarity regarding the proper interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue is appropriate.”