The public gets to beat the dead horse of the DOL overtime rules together, and other wage and hour news

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Want to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Labor‘s proposed overtime rules? Well, now you’ll get that chance.

Again.

If this sounds familiar, it should.

The DOL would love to hear from you (again) about those overtime rules.

Yep, we’re talking about the same overtime rules that would have raised the salary level for the overtime exemptions. The same ones that a Texas federal court enjoined nationwide last year. The same rules that already went through a public-comment process before becoming a final rule. Indeed, over 270,000 public comments poured in.

Well, yesterday the DOL announced (here) that it had sent a Request for Information related to the overtime rule to the Office of Management and Budget for its review. When published, the RFI offers the opportunity for the public to comment.

I’m noddin’ my head like, ‘yeah’

Why go through all of this again? Some may view it as a stall tactic. Others may say that the DOL is simply complying with a White House directive. Either way, they’d love to hear from you!

But wait! There’s more. Wage and Hour Opinion Letter are back.

Here’s the skinny from yesterday’s press release:

The U.S. Department of Labor will reinstate the issuance of opinion letters, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced today. The action allows the department’s Wage and Hour Division to use opinion letters as one of its methods for providing guidance to covered employers and employees.

An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee or other entity requesting the opinion. The letters were a division practice for more than 70 years until being stopped and replaced by general guidance in 2010.

Critics and cynics view these opinion letters as “get out of jail free cards” for employers. Sure, employers that rely on these letters can avoid liquidated damages penalties if they got socked with a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit. But, the DOL has a better take:

“Reinstating opinion letters will benefit employees and employers as they provide a means by which both can develop a clearer understanding of the Fair Labor Standards Act and other statutes,” said Secretary Acosta. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to helping employers and employees clearly understand their labor responsibilities so employers can concentrate on doing what they do best: growing their businesses and creating jobs.”

Employers should forget the haters and read the new opinion letters, as they are issued.

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