Big News! DOL Starts Using Opinion Letters Again

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.

Jill Schaefer

Jill Schaefer

Jill is the Content and Community Manager here at KPA. She breaks down complex regulations into why they matter and what they mean for clients. In short, she tries to make compliance easier and help employers do the right things.

In her spare time, she is equal parts crazy cat lady, triathlete, and pizza connoisseur.

Share this post:
Jill SchaeferBig News! DOL Starts Using Opinion Letters Again