Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1: Joint Employment under the FLSA and MSPA

Wage and Hour Division
Joint Employment image

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued an Administrator’s Interpretation on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

Under these laws, it is a longstanding principle that a worker can be jointly employed by two or more employers who are both responsible, simultaneously, for compliance. Whether an employee has more than one employer is important in determining employees’ rights and employers’ obligations under the FLSA and MSPA.


In the Wage and Hour Division, we have been examining employment relationships during our investigations into possible wage and other labor violations for decades. In fact, we consider joint employment in hundreds of investigations every year. That being said, protecting workers in fissured workplaces — where there is increasingly the possibility that more than one employer is benefiting from the work — has recently been a major focus for us. WHD will consider joint employment to hold all responsible parties accountable for their legal obligations.


While we devote significant resources to enforcing labor standards in order to protect the rights of workers, we are also committed to engaging with and educating employers about their responsibilities so they can operate in compliance with the law. This Administrator’s Interpretation identifies common scenarios in which two or more employers jointly employ an employee and are thus jointly liable for compliance. It pulls together all the relevant authorities – statutory provisions, regulations, and case law – to provide comprehensive guidance on joint employment under FLSA and MSPA so that employers can properly analyze a potential joint employment scenario.


For more information, please visit our Joint Employment AI webpage, which includes the following materials:


  • Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1: Joint employment under the FLSA and MSPA
  • Joint Employment Questions and Answers
  • New fact sheet 28N: Joint Employment and Primary and Secondary Employer Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Revised fact sheet 35: Joint Employment Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)
  • Links to recent media and more.