US DOL's Joint Employer Interpretation Good for Employees and Employers

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters applauds the action of Dr. David WeiI, Administrator of the US Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division, issuing an interpretation of joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

On January 20, 2016, Dr. Weil issued Administrator's Interpretation No. 2016-1, clarifying that two purported employers acting together in employment are separately and jointly responsible for compliance with the record keeping, overtime and minimum wage requirements of the FLSA.

"There's an epidemic in the construction industry with contractors using labor brokers and off-the-books employment schemes to evade deducting taxes and properly paying employees their wages and overtime," said Douglas J. McCarron, General President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. "It's stealing. Corrupt contractors are stealing wages from their workers and by cheating they underbid law-abiding employers, and it isn't going to stop until the contractors using labor brokers are held accountable."

The Administrator's Interpretation does not change existing law on joint employer status - it provides guidance, giving employers notice of its application.

"This action by the Labor Department lets cheating contractors know that they can't continue to hide behind their labor broker subcontracts," McCarron explained. "It is clear they will be held just as liable as their lawbreaking subcontractors if they too are acting like an employer."

More information on illegal employment practices in the construction industry is available on the union;s informational web site: