29 CFR § 778.214 - Benefit plans; including profit-sharing plans or trusts providing similar benefits.

§ 778.214 Benefit plans; including profit-sharing plans or trusts providing similar benefits.

(a) Statutory provision. Section 7(e)(4) of the Act provides that the term “regular rate” shall not be deemed to include: “contributions irrevocably made by an employer to a trustee or third person pursuant to a bona fide plan for providing old age, retirement, life, accident, or health insurance or similar benefits for employees * * *.” Such sums may not, however, be credited toward overtime compensation due under the Act.

(b) Scope and application of exclusion generally. Plans for providing benefits of the kinds described in section 7(e)(4) are referred to herein as “benefit plans”. It is section 7(e)(4) which governs the status for regular rate purposes of any contributions made by an employer pursuant to a plan for providing the described benefits. This is true irrespective of any other features the plan may have. Thus, it makes no difference whether or not the benefit plan is one financed out of profits or one which by matching employee contributions or otherwise encourages thrift or savings. Where such a plan or trust is combined in a single program (whether in one or more documents) with a plan or trust for providing profit-sharing payments to employees, the profit-sharing payments may be excluded from the regular rate if they meet the requirements of the Profit-Sharing Regulations, part 549 of this chapter, and the contributions made by the employer for providing the benefits described in section 7(e)(4) of the Act may be excluded from the regular rate if they meet the tests set forth in § 778.215. Advance approval by the Department of Labor is not required.

(c) Tests must be applied to employer contributions. It should be emphasized that it is the employer's contribution made pursuant to the benefit plan that is excluded from or included in the regular rate according to whether or not the requirements set forth in § 778.215 are met. If the contribution is not made as provided in section 7(e)(4) or if the plan does not qualify as a bona fide benefit plan under that section, the contribution is treated the same as any bonus payment which is part of the regular rate of pay, and at the time the contribution is made the amount thereof must be apportioned back over the work weeks of the period during which it may be said to have accrued. Overtime compensation based upon the resultant increases in the regular hourly rate is due for each overtime hour worked during any workweek of the period. The subsequent distribution of accrued funds to an employee on account of severance of employment (or for any other reason) would not result in any increase in his regular rate in the week in which the distribution is made.

(d) Employer contributions when included in fringe benefit wage determinations under Davis-Bacon Act. As noted in § 778.6 where certain fringe benefits are included in the wage predeterminations of the Secretary of Labor for laborers and mechanics performing contract work subject to the Davis-Bacon Act and related statutes, the provisions of Public Law 88-349 discussed in § 5.32 of this title should be considered together with the interpretations in this part 778 in determining the excludability of such fringe benefits from the regular rate of such employees. Accordingly, reference should be made to § 5.32 of this title as well as to § 778.215 for guidance with respect to exclusion from the employee's regular rate of contributions made by the employer to any benefit plan if, in the workweek or workweeks involved, the employee performed work as a laborer or mechanic subject to a wage determination made by the Secretary pursuant to part 1 of this title, and if fringe benefits of the kind represented by such contributions constitute a part of the prevailing wages required to be paid such employee in accordance with such wage determination.

(e) Employer contributions or equivalents pursuant to fringe benefit determinations under Service Contract Act of 1965. Contributions by contractors and subcontractors to provide fringe benefits specified under the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act of 1965, which are of the kind referred to in section 7(e)(4), are excludable from the regular rate under the conditions set forth in § 778.215. Where the fringe benefit contributions specified under such Act are so excludable, equivalent benefits or payments provided by the employer in satisfaction of his obligation to provide the specified benefits are also excludable from the regular rate if authorized under part 4 of this title, subpart B, pursuant to the McNamara-O'Hara Act, and their exclusion therefrom is not dependent on whether such equivalents, if separately considered, would meet the requirements of § 778.215. See § 778.7.

[33 FR 986, Jan. 26, 1968, as amended at 36 FR 4699, Mar. 11, 1971]