FMLA Breaking News – DOL Withdraws 2016 Broad Interpretation on Joint Employment

by Marti Cardi, Esq. - Senior Compliance Consultant and Legal Counsel

& Gail Cohen, Esq. - Assistant General Counsel, Employment and Litigation

June 07, 2017


Many employers might be in a joint employment relationship with a business partner and not realize it.  Joint employment can create or increase employer liability under the FMLA.

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1 (AI) on the responsibilities and obligations of joint employers.  The DOL concurrently issued a new Fact Sheet #28N, which focuses on joint employer responsibilities under the FMLA.

Today – June 7, 2017 – the DOL announced that it is withdrawing AI 2016-1.  This is consistent with other Trump administration initiatives to pull back on governmental regulation of businesses as employers. The withdrawal does not change the existing law, but does eliminate the AI as the DOL’s broad interpretation of the law.  The AI is no longer available on the DOL website.

So far the DOL has not taken action to withdraw FMLA Fact Sheet #28N.  We’ll be watching!  In the meantime, employers should review that Fact Sheet to gain an understanding of their possible FMLA obligations as a joint employer.

As a side note, the DOL has also withdrawn a 2015 Administrator’s Interpretation on independent contractors.

For more background on AI 2016-1 on joint employers, check our prior blog post

MATRIX CAN HELP!  Matrix provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. We monitor the many leave laws being passed around the country and specialize in understanding how they work together. For leave management and accommodation assistance, contact us at [email protected].