The Department of Labor announced its return from winter vacation this week by issuing three new opinion letters.  Two of the letters address Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) payment calculation issues; the other deals with the applicability of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to a special health district.

The first FLSA letter (FLSA2020-1) concerns how an employee’s regular rate of pay is impacted by a non-discretionary bonus, payable after ten weeks of training.  The DOL stated that the bonus should be allocated equally through the ten-week training period, because each week counted equally towards earning the bonus.  If the employees worked overtime hours during the ten-week training period, the employer would have to add the pro-rated bonus amount to that week, adjust the employee’s regular rate, and accordingly calculate the additional overtime compensation owed.

The second FLSA letter (FLSA2020-2) involves educational consultants paid on a per-project basis, and whether or not those payments complied with FLSA regulations on a fee or salary basis.  The DOL found that both methods complied with the salary basis requirements, where the consultant received regular, biweekly installment payments that were not dependent on the quantity or quality of the consultant’s work, among other factors.  The DOL further found that a second project, with additional compensation, would not impact the employee’s exempt status.

The DOL’s FMLA letter (FMLA2020-1-A) determined that an Ohio health district did not have to include county employees for purposes of its own headcount to determine whether health district employees are eligible for FMLA leave, because the health district and county were not “a single public agency employer.”  In reaching its conclusion, the DOL examined a number of factors, including but not limited to (1) Ohio law treats health districts as separate political subdivisions, (2) the health district can commence and defend lawsuits in their own name, and (3) the health district is fiscally independent from the county.  Whether state agencies constitute a single public agency for FMLA purposes can only be determined on a case-by-case basis, generally based on if and how those agencies operate interdependently.

Murtha lawyers look forward to a new decade of discussing the impact of Department of Labor guidance, and assisting with compliance.  We wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

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Photo of Matthew K. Curtin Matthew K. Curtin

Matthew Curtin is a Partner in the Litigation Department, the Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group.

In Matthew’s cybersecurity practice, he advises clients on compliance with state, federal and international privacy…

Matthew Curtin is a Partner in the Litigation Department, the Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group.

In Matthew’s cybersecurity practice, he advises clients on compliance with state, federal and international privacy laws including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Matthew is particularly interested in advising his clients concerning employment privacy matters. Matthew is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

In Matthew’s labor and employment practice, he has successfully represented employers of all sizes concerning a wide variety of claims before state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and other various administrative agencies.

Matthew has substantial experience with collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations, and labor relations. He regularly counsels senior management and human resources professionals concerning employment contracts, employment policies, hiring and termination procedures, workplace investigations, and harassment and discrimination avoidance.

Matthew has significant experience representing businesses in litigation concerning trade secret theft, unfair competition, and breach of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements.

Photo of Adam D. Friedland Adam D. Friedland

Adam D. Friedland is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and Labor and Employment Practice Group. He represents clients in a variety of commercial litigation disputes, and counsels on potential litigation risks associated with all aspects of labor and employment law, including…

Adam D. Friedland is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and Labor and Employment Practice Group. He represents clients in a variety of commercial litigation disputes, and counsels on potential litigation risks associated with all aspects of labor and employment law, including wage and hour, discrimination, post-employment restrictive covenant, and related claims.

Adam has successfully represented clients in state and federal court, administrative proceedings, and alternative dispute resolution forums from inception through resolution.