The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Administrator signed Opinion Letter FLSA2009-10. 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). Because the letter was apparently never mailed after it was signed, the DOL under new Secretary Hilda L. Solis has decided to withdraw the letter for further consideration. Therefore, this letter may not be relied upon as a statement of agency policy. It is possible that a different conclusion may be reached when the Opinion Letter is reissued.
In this Opinion Letter, the DOL confirmed that community members who coach athletic teams qualify as teachers under the FLSA. Although a teaching certificate indicates that an employee qualifies for the exemption, there is no requirement that a teacher possess a certificate to qualify. Further, “there is no minimum education or academic degree required” for the exemption. Coaches qualify as teachers if their primary duty is “teaching and imparting knowledge to students in an educational establishment.” Since these community members apparently do not provide other services to the school district and there is no salary requirement for teachers under the FLSA, the coaches qualify and are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements.
State laws may provide rules that are more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. The DOL may come to a different conclusion when it reissues the Opinion Letter after further consideration. Contact Vision Payroll if you have questions about this Opinion Letter.