DOL Adopts New Joint Employer Determination Test


On Jan. 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new four-factor balancing test to determine whether two or more organizations should be considered “joint employers” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule establishing the new test becomes effective March 16, 2020

The final rule requires the DOL to examine whether a potential joint employer: 

  • Hires or fires the employee;
  • Supervises and controls the employee’s work schedule or conditions of employment to a substantial degree;
  • Determines the employee’s rate and method of payment; and
  • Maintains the employee’s employment records.

However, the rule also clarifies that additional factors may be considered as necessary. Please note that this final rule and new test apply only to joint employment status for FLSA compliance and do not address joint employment status under other federal employment laws.

The DOL has the authority to enforce full compliance with labor standards against one or all joint employers. To avoid violations, employers should:

  • Become familiar with this final rule; 
  • Evaluate whether they are in a joint employment situation; and

Identify any potential areas of non-compliance by joint employers.


Tim McKenna
GLC HR Director
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