Big News! DOL Starts Using Opinion Letters Again

by Jill Schaefer on April 19, 2018

For the first time in 9 years, the U.S. Department of Labor has once again started issuing Opinion Letters. These interpretations provide regulatory guidance for employers and address real-life, day-to-day workplace issues.

FLSA2018-19, the first Opinion Letter issued, addresses the interplay of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


  • FMLA leave may be used in week, day, hours, or less-than-an-hour increments.
  • Frequent rest breaks related to an approved FMLA need are permitted. They can be unpaid because they primarily benefit the employee.
  • If your company normally provides a certain number of paid rest periods for other employees, allow employees with FMLA to be paid for that same number of breaks. The rest of the FMLA-necessary breaks can be unpaid. In the letter’s example, an employee needs eight 15-minute rest breaks over the course of an 8-hour shift. If that employer normally pays for 2 rest breaks, 6 of those breaks could be unpaid, but 2 would be paid.

Request an opinion letter through the DOL’s website. Opinion Letter archives are also available for employers.

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Jill SchaeferBig News! DOL Starts Using Opinion Letters Again