ABA, Trade Groups Welcome DOL Clarifications of ‘Regular Rate’ of Pay

The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity—a coalition of industry groups, including the American Bankers Association—this week expressed support for the Labor Department’s proposed clarifications of the types of payments and employee benefits that employers may exclude from the determination of the employee’s regular rate of pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay an employee 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any hours in excess of 40 hours that the employee works in a workweek, unless that employee is exempt from overtime requirements.

“The PPWO’s members believe that employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes IRSmaximum flexibility in structuring employee pay and benefits and clarity for employers when preparing total compensation packages,” the groups said.

The groups welcomed DOL’s proposal to clarify that discretionary bonuses, “call-back” pay, pay for sick leave and meal periods and costs for certain employee benefit plans are excluded from an employee’s regular rate of pay. They asked DOL to clarify that student loan repayments, payments for adoption or surrogacy assistance, sign-on bonuses, public transportation subsidies and discounts provided by the employer are excluded from the regular rate. Finally, they asked DOL to clarify that reimbursement for travel expenses that follow IRS guidelines is per se reasonable.