Fluctuating-Workweek Follies: First Principles Are Unchanged

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The U.S. Labor Department's unfounded April fluctuating-workweek commentary (earlier post here) continues to complicate many pre-existing pay plans and to cause employers to narrow their views of the available compensation alternatives. This is the foreseeable (and apparently intended) result of what DOL said. Unfortunately, some observers are compounding the impact of DOL's commentary by suggesting that its ramifications are more dire than ought to be the case.

We have previously noted that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act grants no regulatory authority to DOL to make such pronouncements. Probably for this reason, the commentary purported to draw substance from sprinkled-in references to the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case of Overnight Transportation Co. v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572 (1942), which embraced the concept underlying the fluctuating-workweek calculation. But DOL's effort is an illusion.

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