The Department of Labor (DOL) has released three new opinion letters on the Wage and Hour Division's website to offer wage and hour compliance assistance for businesses, according to Bloomberg BNA.
The letters explain DOL's position regarding when workers must be compensated for travel time, pay for health-related rest breaks and the potential garnishment of lump-sum payments. At least two of the letters were in response to questions from businesses.
Earlier this year, DOL announced it would be reviving the opinion letter program, which allows businesses and workers to ask the department for clarity regarding specific legal issues. Although businesses praised the program's revival, critics say the letters could shield employers from wage and hour lawsuits.
"American job creators and employers deserve to know how an agency will apply the law to a particular set of facts," Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said in a statement. "By addressing the application of statutes and regulations in the specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee, or other entity, opinion letters provide clarity that helps increase compliance to the benefit of all."