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DOL Issues Joint Employment Guidance

January 22, 2016

On January 20, the Department of Labor’s (DOL's) Wage and Hour Division issued an Administrator's Interpretation No. 2016-1, which provides guidance on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). Where joint employment relationships exist, all involved employers are responsible for compliance with wage and hour laws, with very few limited exceptions. 

The DOL has issued several guidance documents regarding various wage and hour concerns over the past year, including significant guidance on independent contractors, indicating that it is intensifying enforcement activities. (See WICs article, "DOL Issues Guidance on Misclassification of Independent Contractors," July 16, 2015.) In its press release accompanying the new guidance, the Wage and Hour Division said, "[P]rotecting workers in fissured workplaces — where there is increasingly the possibility that more than one employer is benefiting from the work — has recently been a major focus for us. WHD will consider joint employment to hold all responsible parties accountable for their legal obligations."

The DOL has created a Joint Employment AI webpage, which includes the following materials:

  • Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1: Joint employment under the FLSA and MSPA
  • Joint Employment Questions and Answers
  • New fact sheet 28N: Joint Employment and Primary and Secondary Employer Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Revised fact sheet 35: Joint Employment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)
  • Links to recent media and more.