The US Department of Labor recently issued non-Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2008-13NA. Although Opinion Letters only apply to the exact set of facts and circumstances presented in each case, they are a valuable aid in understanding current interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unlike signed Opinion Letters, unsigned Opinion Letters do not “provide a potential good faith reliance defense for violations of the FLSA.”
This Opinion Letter discusses whether daycare instructors who spend a majority of their time teaching qualify as exempt teachers under the FLSA. The Opinion Letter stated “that the daycare center instructors [spent] a majority of their time teaching children between the ages of three and five a curriculum of basic reading, counting, and social skills.” The relevant State Department of Education did not license the daycare centers where the instructors worked, although they were licensed by the state’s Department of Public Welfare. The implication of this distinction is “that the state does not consider the day care centers to be providing educational services.” The Opinion Letter concludes that the instructors do not qualify for the teacher exemption since they do not provide elementary education under the laws of their state.
State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.