WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on its proposal to modify the methodology used to determine the hourly Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the H-2A program. The proposed changes will better enable the department to meet its statutory mandate to ensure the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages of workers in the United States similarly employed.

AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment, so that the wages of workers in the United States similarly employed will not be adversely affected.

For field and livestock worker occupations, which represent the vast majority of agricultural jobs, the proposed rule continues to use the average annual hourly wage for field and livestock workers (combined) for the state or region, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Labor Survey. For all other agricultural jobs, which are not adequately represented or reported by the current FLS data, the department proposes to set the AEWRs using the statewide or national average annual hourly wages for the occupational classification reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey program. Where the job opportunity covers more than one occupational classification, the department proposes to set the AEWRs based on the highest wage for the applicable occupations.

The NPRM is published in the Federal Register.

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