GFVGA Submits H-2A Comments to the Department of Labor
Monday, September 30, 2019
Posted by: Mary Kendall Dixon
Only July 26, the U.S. Department of Labor published proposed changes to the H-2A program regulations. This is extremely important to your farm operation and we request you take immediate action. Before an agency can change regulations they must accept comments from the public.
The proposed changes are extensive -- some are positive while some are troubling, particularly the proposed changes to the wage structure that will increase H-2A wages even more and will complicate record keeping by potentially having to pay up to eight different wages.
The proposed Adverse Effect Wage Rate, AEWR, methodology is still unclear and unpredictable. Under the proposal, the AEWR will continue to change each year based on the results of the annual farm labor survey. They new AEWR would go into effect in February or March, limiting most growers ability to predict their labor costs fo the new year.
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is recommending the wage regulations be based on the federal minimum wage plus a percentage increase or a floor an annual increase or decrease tied to the Consumer Price Index, CPI.
Growers need the certainty of knowing what their labor costs will be for several years into the future. Our recommendation will allow you to operate as any other business by allowing you to know your future cost of production and allowing you to accurately make business decisions for your operation.
There are some good things in the proposed rule changes, such as staggered entry, lowering the 50 percent rule to 30 days from the last crossing, allowing for post certification changes on your contract and the transportation rule change provides that the worker must be reimbursed for the transportation costs from the consulate instead of their home town.
You will find a three-page summary of GFVGA's comments to the rule change, here and GFVGA's complete 10-page comments on the proposed rules on the proposed rules, here.