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DOL Final Rule for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment

21 May

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All covered employersJune 28, 2024

What happened?

On April 30, 2024, the Department of Labor issued the Final Rule for Farmworkers that enhanced protections for temporary agricultural workers by modifying H-2A program regulations. This aims to prevent negative impacts on U.S. workers and ensure H-2A workers are employed only when there are not enough qualified U.S. workers available.

What are the details?

Key changes include:

  • Empowering workers to advocate on behalf of themselves and their coworkers regarding working conditions.
  • Improving accountability for employers using the H-2A program.
  • Improving transparency and accountability in the foreign labor recruitment process.
  • Requiring seat belts in most vehicles used to transport workers.
  • Enhancing existing enforcement provisions.
  • Improving transparency into the nature of the job opportunity by collecting additional information about owners, operators, managers, and supervisors to better enforce program requirements.
  • Clarifying when a termination is “for cause” to protect essential worker rights.
  • Revising provisions and codifying protections that are outdated, unclear, or subject to misinterpretation in the current regulations.
  • Strengthening protections for temporary agricultural workers when employers fail to properly notify workers that the start date of work is delayed, and clarifies and streamlines procedures to prevent noncompliant employers from using the Employment Service.

Business Considerations

  • Employers should familiarize themselves with the new regulations and understand how they impact their business and workers.
  • Employers are advised to be transparent about the nature of the job opportunity and provide all necessary information about owners, operators, managers, and supervisors to enforce program requirements.
  • Employers might think about encouraging and supporting workers to advocate for themselves and their coworkers regarding working conditions.
  • Employers are advised to comply with the H-2A program and new rules, be responsible for foreign labor recruitment, adhere to stricter enforcement, and promptly inform workers of any work start date delays to avoid penalties.
  • Employers should review their policies, practices, and procedures to adjust them to align with the new regulations.
  • Employers must provide training to all relevant staff on the new regulations and the updated policies and procedures.
  • Employers are advised to consult with a labor attorney to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

Source References


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