DOL Issues Two Wage and Hour Opinions: Voluntary Training & Travel to Construction Sites
On November 3rd, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued two opinion letters designed to bring clarity to outstanding wage and hour issues. The first letter concerns voluntary employee training and the second letter concerns employee travel to off-premises construction sites in certain circumstances.
Often, as was the case here, the DOL issues these types of opinions after stakeholders (employers, employees, or other groups) reach out to the agency for guidance on a complex matter. In this post, our West Palm Beach employment law attorneys discuss the two most recent wage and hour opinions released by the federal agency.
Wage and Hour Opinion #1: Employees Attending Voluntary Training Programs
A nonprofit organization wrote the Department of Labor seeking guidance on how the FLSA applies to employees attending voluntary training programs. Essentially, this employer provides funds for employees to attend a continuing education program. The employer states that workers are not required to accept the offer. The training is completely voluntary.
In asking for help, the employer wanted to determine if the voluntary training was subject to wage and hour laws. The answer by the DOL was ‘no’—at least given the information provided. The Department of Labor clarifies that voluntary training programs are not counted as ‘working time’ under the FLSA as long as the following criteria are satisfied:
- Attendance of the training occurs outside of number working hours;
- Participation in training is genuinely voluntary;
- No productive work on behalf of the employer is performed during the program.
Wage and Hour Opinion #2: Employee Travel to Off-Premises Construction Sites
The second wage and hour opinion was released in response to a construction company that has various, ever-changing job sites throughout their market area—both in their home city and more broadly around the region.
For safety and security, the employer states that all company trucks are kept at the principal place of business. In effect, this means that each day the foreman of the individual job site goes to the main office, picks up the company truck, and then drives it to the specific site. At the end of the workday, the truck is then returned to the headquarters.
The employer’s question: Is that employee’s travel time covered by the FLSA? Given the circumstances provided by the construction company, the DOL’s answer is ‘yes’. The foreman retrieves the truck in furtherance of the interests of the employer. The time counts as working time under federal wage and hour laws.
Call Our West Palm Beach, FL Wage and Hour Attorneys for Legal Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida wage and hour attorneys possess the skills, experience, and expertise to handle the full range of FLSA claims. Representing both employers and employees, we have a comprehensive understanding of all sides of state and federal law. Call us now for a wholly private, no obligation initial legal consultation. With legal offices in West Palm Beach, Miami, and Palm Beach Gardens, our attorneys serve communities throughout South Florida.