Not a Member?  Become One Today!

2008 Wage Rates Set for Immigrant Agriculture, Logging Workers
 

By J.J. Smith  3/3/2008
 

The federal government has issued the 2008 minimum hourly wage requirements that agriculture and logging operations must pay temporary foreign workers.

The Department of Labor (DOL) regulation—“Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture and Logging in the United States: 2008 Adverse Effect Wage Rates, Allowable Charges for Agricultural and Logging Workers’ Meals and Maximum Travel Subsistence Reimbursement”—was issued Feb. 26, 2008. The rule also lists the maximum amount agriculture or logging operations can charge foreign workers for meals, as well as the minimum and maximum amounts foreign workers can be reimbursed for travel subsistence.

The rates listed in the regulation are the minimum wage rates employers of H-2A agricultural workers or H-2B logging workers must pay to U.S and foreign employees within a particular area so that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers will not be affected adversely, the DOL says. The rule also lists new rates for 2008 that agricultural and logging employers may charge their workers for three daily meals and the minimum and maximum charges for travel subsistence expenses a worker may claim.

The rates are determined for most of the states by combining a region’s average hourly wage rates for field and livestock workers as published annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, the USDA does not provide data on Alaska; therefore, a wage rate for that state is not listed. The rates determined for most states are:

    • Alabama, $8.53; Arizona, $8.70; Arkansas, $8.41; California, $9.72; Colorado, $9.42; Connecticut, $9.70; Delaware, $9.70; Florida, $8.82; Georgia, $8.53 and Hawaii, $10.86.

    • Idaho, $8.74; Illinois, $9.90; Indiana, $9.90; Iowa, $10.44; Kansas, $9.90; Kentucky, $9.13; Louisiana, $8.41; Maine, $9.70 and Maryland, $9.70.

    • Massachusetts, $9.70; Michigan, $10.01; Minnesota, $10.01; Mississippi, $8.41; Missouri, $10.44; Montana, $8.74; Nebraska, $9.90; Nevada, $9.42; New Hampshire, $9.70 and New Jersey, $9.70.

    • New Mexico, $8.70; New York, $9.70; North Carolina, $8.85; North Dakota, $9.90; Ohio, $9.90; Oklahoma, $9.02; Oregon, $9.94; Pennsylvania, $9.70; Rhode Island, $9.70 and South Carolina, $8.53.

    • South Dakota, $9.90; Tennessee, $9.13; Texas, $9.02; Utah, $9.42; Vermont, $9.70; Virginia, $8.85; Washington, $9.94; West Virginia, $9.13; Wisconsin, $10.01 and Wyoming, $8.74.

Meal Charges

Among the minimum benefits and working conditions that the DOL requires employers to offer their U.S., H-2A and H-2B workers are three meals a day, or free and convenient cooking and kitchen facilities. When an employer provides meals, the job offer must state the charge, if any, to the worker for meals, the DOL says. The charge for meals can be no more than $9.90 per day, unless—based on employer justification—the Employment and Training Administration approves a higher charge of up to $12.27 per day.

Travel Subsistence Expenses

The minimum daily travel subsistence expenses for which a worker is entitled to be reimbursed for is equivalent to the employer’s daily charge for three meals, the DOL says. However, if the employer does not charge for three meals, the maximum meal reimbursement an employee is entitled to is the same per diem rate established by the General Services Administration for travel within the continental United States of $19.50 per day if travel time is less than a full day, or up to $39 per day if travel requires a full day. However, an employee is required to provide receipts; otherwise, the employer is not obligated to reimburse the worker for travel subsistence expenses, the DOL says.

J.J. Smith is editor/manager of SHRM Online’s Global HR Focus Area.

Related Resource:

Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Aliens in Agriculture and Logging in the United States: 2008 Adverse Effect Wage Rates, Allowable Charges for Agricultural and Logging Workers' Meals, and Maximum Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Federal Register Notice

Copyright Image Obtain reuse/copying permission