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Employer Considerations for DOL’s New AEWR Rule

March 1, 2023

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR) rule that will continue to calculate the AEWR from wage survey information and likely to continue to escalate the AEWR. This rule is effective on March 30, 2023. Any job orders filed on or before March 29, 2023 will not be subject to this rule.

In addition, the rule allows for the potential of additional wage surveys to be conducted to further increase to the highest of all wages assessed. Finally, the most problematic portion of the AEWR rule is that, if there are multiple activities included in the description that fall outside the agricultural Standard of Occupation (SOC) codes, DOL will require use of the highest applicable wage. 

The largest impact will be in situations where job duties contain driving/transportation/supervisory responsibilities as wages for those SOC codes are typically higher than AEWR. Employers should consider separate contracts for driving/transportation/supervision activities to avoid the higher wage applying to all H-2A worker activities. The higher wages for the separate contracts would also apply to corresponding employment.

The final AEWR rule can be found here.

Varnum and Great Lakes Ag Labor Services will hold a call on March 6, 2023 from 11:30am to 12pm for Agricultural Employment Compliance Guide subscribers to discuss the new rule.

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