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DOL Issues New FLSA Opinion Letters

A couple of times each year the Department of Labor issues opinion letters interpreting statutes and regulations under their jurisdiction. On February 14, 2008, the DOL provided two new opinions regarding interpretations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers in California are required to comply with the FLSA and California law and courts often use DOL interpretations even when deciding cases under California law.

In FLSA2008-1NA, the DOL was asked whether the minimum salary of $455 per week under the FLSA could be prorated to reflect the part-time status of an employee. The DOL rejected the idea that the minimum weekly salary could be reduced. Courts interpreting similar provisions under California law would likely agree with the DOL’s conclusion. California employer should be aware, however, that employees qualifying for California’s Administrative, Professional or Executive exemptions must receive a weekly salary of at least $640 (two times California’s current minimum wage).

In FLSA2008-2NA, an employer asked if it was using an acceptable method of tracking hours worked when employees performed mandatory on-line training while at home. The employer’s time records showed the type of training taken, the completion date, start and end times and contained a place for the employee’s and manager’s signature. The DOL pointed out that “No particular method of keeping required records is prescribed, provided that the relevant information [i.e., hours worked each day] is maintained and preserved.

The opinion letter serves as a good reminder that employers are required to compensate non-exempt employees for time spent in mandatory training, even if the training occurs at home. Accurate records of hours worked by non-exempt employees must be maintained and preserved.

The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.

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Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.