20 CFR § 655.1314 - Setting meal charges; petition for higher meal charges.
(a) Meal charges. Until a new amount is set under this paragraph an employer may charge workers up to $9.90 for providing them with three meals per day. The maximum charge allowed by this paragraph (a) will be changed annually by the same percentage as the 12 month percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers for Food between December of the year just concluded and December of the year prior to that. The annual adjustments will be effective on the date of their publication by the Administrator, OFLC, as a Notice in the Federal Register. When a charge or deduction for the cost of meals would bring the employee's wage below the minimum wage set by the FLSA at 29 U.S.C. 206 (FLSA), the charge or deduction must meet the requirements of 29 U.S.C. 203(m) of the FLSA, including the recordkeeping requirements found at 29 CFR 516.27.
(b) Filing petitions for higher meal charges. The employer may file a petition with the CO to charge more than the applicable amount for meal charges if the employer justifies the charges and submits to the CO the documentation required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(1) Required documentation. Documentation submitted must include the cost of goods and services directly related to the preparation and serving of meals, the number of workers fed, the number of meals served and the number of days meals were provided. The cost of the following items may be included: Food; kitchen supplies other than food, such as lunch bags and soap; labor costs that have a direct relation to food service operations, such as wages of cooks and dining hall supervisors; fuel, water, electricity, and other utilities used for the food service operation; and other costs directly related to the food service operation. Charges for transportation, depreciation, overhead and similar charges may not be included. Receipts and other cost records for a representative pay period must be retained and must be available for inspection by the CO for a period of 1 year.
(2) Effective date for higher charge. The employer may begin charging the higher rate upon receipt of a favorable decision from the CO unless the CO sets a later effective date in the decision.
(c) Appeal. In the event the employer's petition for a higher meal charge is denied in whole or in part, the employer may appeal the denial. Appeals will be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge. ALJ's will hear such appeals according to the procedures in 29 CFR part 18, except that the appeal will not be considered as a complaint to which an answer is required. The decision of the ALJ is the final decision of the Secretary.