Labor Department issues guidance on breaks, travel time and garnishments

Q&A with Kristin Simpsen

published in The Oklahoman | May 1, 2018

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it would resume its opinion letter program. In a business Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment attorney Kristin Simpsen discussed the significance of this decision and what it means for employers.

“Opinion letters, which serve as an official statement on DOL policy, are a valuable resource for employers in determining how to comply with the federal laws and regulations the agency enforces,” said Simpsen. “Not only do they discuss how a specific law applies to a certain set of facts presented by the requester, but they can also be relied upon as a good faith defense to wage claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Moreover, they can be relied upon as official guidance for other employers subject to the FLSA and Family and Medical Leave Act.”

The Q&A also included a review of new opinion letters that addressed questions pertaining to the compensability of break time for employees requiring intermittent FMLA leave, the compensability of travel time by nonexempt employees, and the types of earnings that may be garnished.