29 CFR 531.25 - Introductory statement.
(a) The ultimate decisions on interpretations of the Act are made by the courts (Mitchell v. Zachry, 362 U.S. 310; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517). Court decisions supporting interpretations contained in this subpart are cited where it is believed they may be helpful. On matters which have not been determined by the courts, it is necessary for the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator to reach conclusions as to the meaning and the application of provisions of the law in order to carry out their responsibilities of administration and enforcement (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134). In order that these positions may be made known to persons who may be affected by them, official interpretations are issued by the Administrator on the advice of the Solicitor of Labor, as authorized by the Secretary (Reorganization Plan 6 of 1950, 64 Stat. 1263; Gen. Order 45A, May 24, 1950, 15 FR 3290). The Supreme Court has recognized that such interpretations of this Act “provide a practical guide to employers and employees as to how the office representing the public interest in its enforcement will seek to apply it” and “constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance.” Further, as stated by the Court: “Good administration of the Act and good judicial administration alike require that the standards of public enforcement and those for determining private rights shall be at variance only where justified by very good reasons.” (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134.)
(b) The interpretations of the law contained in this subpart are official interpretations of the Department of Labor with respect to the application under described circumstances of the provisions of law which they discuss. The interpretations indicate, with respect to the methods of paying the compensation required by sections 6 and 7 and the application thereto of the provisions of section 3(m) of the Act, the construction of the law which the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator believe to be correct and which will guide them in the performance of their administrative duties under the Act unless and until they are otherwise directed by authoritative decisions of the courts or conclude, upon reexamination of an interpretation, that it is incorrect. Reliance may be placed upon the interpretations as provided in section 10 of the Portal-to-Portal Act (29 U.S.C. 259) so long as they remain effective and are not modified, amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial authority to be incorrect. For discussion of section 10 of the Portal-to-Portal Act, see part 790 of this chapter.