Breaking News: New Protections for Agricultural Workers Proposed

agricultural workers
  • Published
  • 13 September 2023
  • Category
  • News

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed new rulesImproving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States, to amend regulations affecting workers in the federal H-2A visa program. The H-2A program was established to help employers who anticipate a lack of available domestic workers to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.

The proposal includes provisions to:

  • Enhance the department’s ability to monitor compliance and take enforcement actions against program violators.
  • Protect workers regarding self-advocacy on working conditions and in cases of alleged employer retaliation.
  • Clarify when a termination is for cause, for example, when a worker fails to meet productivity expectations or violates a company policy.
  • Make foreign labor recruitment activities more transparent to address concerns regarding workers’ rights and trafficking.
  • Update new wage rates as soon as they are published in the Federal Register rather than weeks later.
  • Improve workers’ access to safe transportation, including use of seatbelts.

The proposal builds on a final rule the department published in October 2022. There is a 60-day comment period.