H-2A Updates: Wages, Nursery Seasonality

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Each year, in December, the Department of Labor (DOL) publishes the new “adverse effect wage rates” (AEWR) which are typically the wages required to be paid to H-2A agricultural visa workers, as well as any U.S. workers considered to be in “corresponding employment.” The AEWRs are derived from the USDA Farm Labor Survey and typically take effect in January, two weeks after the DOL announces them.

On November 21, the last two-quarters of Farm Labor Survey data were published, allowing us to know with accuracy what the new AEWRs will be. Our consulting economist, Dr. Steve Bronars of Edgeworth Economics, has published an AEWR table (PDF, 102 KB) that will allow H-2A users to know what their coming 2020 AEWRs will be, and to be able to begin planning accordingly.

In other H-2A news, AmericanHort has received reports that the DOL is issuing “notices of deficiency” questioning the seasonal need of H-2A user nursery employers located in warmer climates. In response, AmericanHort has sent an official letter (PDF, 723KB) to the DOL that explains why temperature alone should not be considered the definitive factor determining seasonality in nursery production. We are hopeful that DOL will back away from placing new and potentially burdensome requirements on our industry’s users of the increasingly important visa program.

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