New H-2A Wages Effective Dec. 29

Ernie Neff Labor

A recent issue of the Florida Citrus Mutual Triangle newsletter provided information about the wage that growers must pay H-2A labor, effective Dec. 29.

H-2A workers are foreign agricultural workers who are allowed to work in the United States temporarily. In recent years, the vast majority of Florida citrus has been harvested by H-2A workers.

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) has published the 2022 Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) in the December 16, 2021 Federal Register.

DOL’s H-2A regulations at 20 CFR 655.122(l) provide that employers must pay their H–2A workers and workers in corresponding employment at least the highest of: (i) The AEWR; (ii) the prevailing hourly wage rate; (iii) the prevailing piece rate; (iv) the agreed upon collective bargaining wage rate; or (v) the federal or state minimum wage rate in effect at the time the work is performed.

Further, when the AEWR is adjusted during a work contract and is higher than the highest of the previous AEWR, the prevailing rate, the agreed upon collective bargaining wage, the federal minimum wage rate, or the state minimum wage rate, the employer must pay that adjusted AEWR upon the effective date of the new rate, as provided in the applicable Federal Register Notice. In this case, the effective date is Dec. 29, 2021, at which time growers will need to use the new Florida rate of $12.41 per hour for their H-2A labor. The previous Florida rate was $12.08 per hour.

The new H-2A labor rates vary by state. California has the highest rate, at $17.51 per hour, while Georgia has the lowest rate at 11.99 per hour. The hourly rate in Texas is $13.88.

See the Federal Register notice for the updated 2022 AEWRs.

Source: Florida Citrus Mutual

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