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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: August 2, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 149)]
[Notices]               
[Page 40298-40299]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02au01-94]                         
=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of 
Aliens in Agriculture and Logging in the United States: 2001 Adverse 
Effect Wage Rates, Allowable Charges for Agricultural and Logging 
Workers' Meals, And Maximum Travel Subsistence Reimbursement

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of adverse effect wage rates (AEWRs), allowable charges 
for meals, and maximum travel subsistence reimbursement for 2001.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announces 
2001 adverse effect wage rates (AEWRs) for employers seeking 
nonimmigrant alien (H-2A) workers for temporary or seasonal 
agricultural labor or services, the allowable charges employers seeking 
nonimmigrant alien workers for temporary or seasonal agricultural labor 
or services or logging work may levy upon their workers when they 
provide three meals per day, and the maximum travel subsistence 
reimbursement which a worker with receipts may claim in 2001.
    AEWRs are the minimum wage rates which the Department of Labor has 
determined must be offered and paid to U.S. and alien workers by 
employers of nonimmigrant alien agricultural workers (H-2A 
visaholders). AEWRs are established to prevent the employment of these 
aliens from adversely affecting wages of similarly employed U.S. 
workers.
    ETA also announces the new rates which covered agricultural and 
logging employers may charge their workers for three daily meals.
    Under specified conditions, workers are entitled to reimbursement 
for travel subsistence expense. The minimum reimbursement is the charge 
for three daily meals as discussed above. ETA here announces the 
current maximum reimbursement for workers with receipts.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 2, 2001.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Grace A. Kilbane, Administrator, 
Office of Workforce Security, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-4231, 
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: 202-693-
3200 (this is not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Attorney General may not approve an 
employer's petition for admission of non-immigrant alien agricultural 
(H-2A) workers to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary 
or seasonal nature in the United States unless the petitioner has 
applied to the Department of Labor (DOL) for an H-2A labor 
certification. The labor certification must show that: (1) There are 
not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, and qualified and 
who will be available at the time and place needed to perform the labor 
or services involved in the petition; and (2) the employment of the 
alien in such labor or services will not adversely affect the wages and 
working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed. 
8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 1184(c), and 1188.
    DOL's regulations for the H-2A program require that covered 
employers offer and pay their U.S. and H-2A workers no less than the 
applicable hourly adverse effect wage rate (AEWR). 20 CFR 
655.102(b)(9); see also 20 CFR 655.107. Reference should be made to the 
preamble to the July 5, 1989, final rule (54 FR 28037), which explains 
in great depth the purpose and history of AEWRs, DOL's discretion in 
setting AEWRs, and the AEWR computation methodology at 20 CFR 
655.107(a). See also 52 FR 20496, 20502-20505 (June 1, 1987).

A. Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for 2001

    Adverse effect wage rates (AEWRs) are the minimum wage rates which 
DOL has determined must be offered and paid to U.S. and alien workers 
by employers of nonimmigrant (H-2A) agricultural workers. DOL 
emphasizes, however, that such employers must pay the highest of the 
AEWR, the applicable prevailing hourly wage rate, or the legal federal 
or State minimum wage rate, as specified in the regulations. 20 CFR 
655.102(b)(9). Except as otherwise provided in 20 CFR Part 655, Subpart 
B, the regionwide AEWR for all agricultural employment (except those 
occupations deemed inappropriate under the special circumstances 
provisions of 20 CFR 655.93) for which

[[Page 40299]]

temporary alien agricultural labor (H-2A) certification is being 
sought, is equal to the annual weighted average hourly wage rate for 
field and livestock workers (combined) for the region as published 
annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA does not provide 
data on Alaska). 20 CFR 655.107(a).
    The regulation at 20 CFR 655.107(a) requires the Administrator, 
Office of Workforce Security, to publish USDA field and livestock 
worker (combined) wage data as AEWRs in a Federal Register notice. 
Accordingly, the 2001 AEWRs for work performed on or after the 
effective date of this notice, are set forth in the table below:

             Table.--2001 Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           State                              2001 AEWR
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama....................................................        $6.83
Arizona....................................................         6.71
Arkansas...................................................         6.69
California.................................................         7.56
Colorado...................................................         7.43
Connecticut................................................         8.17
Delaware...................................................         7.37
Florida....................................................         7.66
Georgia....................................................         6.83
Hawaii.....................................................         9.05
Idaho......................................................         7.26
Illinois...................................................         8.09
Indiana....................................................         8.09
Iowa.......................................................         7.84
Kansas.....................................................         7.81
Kentucky...................................................         6.60
Louisiana..................................................         6.69
Maine......................................................         8.17
Maryland...................................................         7.37
Massachusetts..............................................         8.17
Michigan...................................................         8.07
Minnesota..................................................         8.07
Mississippi................................................         6.69
Missouri...................................................         7.84
Montana....................................................         7.26
Nebraska...................................................         7.81
Nevada.....................................................         7.43
New Hampshire..............................................         8.17
New Jersey.................................................         7.37
New Mexico.................................................         6.71
New York...................................................         8.17
North Carolina.............................................         7.06
North Dakota...............................................         7.81
Ohio.......................................................         8.09
Oklahoma...................................................         6.98
Oregon.....................................................         8.14
Pennsylvania...............................................         7.37
Rhode Island...............................................         8.17
South Carolina.............................................         6.83
South Dakota...............................................         7.81
Tennessee..................................................         6.60
Texas......................................................         6.98
Utah.......................................................         7.43
Vermont....................................................         8.17
Virginia...................................................         7.06
Washington.................................................         8.14
West Virginia..............................................         6.60
Wisconsin..................................................         8.07
Wyoming....................................................         7.26
------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Allowable Meal Charges

    Among the minimum benefits and working conditions which DOL 
requires employers to offer their alien and U.S. workers in their 
applications for temporary logging and H-2A agricultural labor 
certification is the provision of three meals per day or free and 
convenient cooking and kitchen facilities. 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) and 
655.202(b)(4). Where the employer provides meals, the job offer must 
state the charge, if any, to the worker for meals.
    DOL has published at 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) and 655.111(a) the 
methodology for determining the maximum amounts covered H-2A 
agricultural employers may charge their U.S. and foreign workers for 
meals. The same methodology is applied at 20 CFR 655.202(b)(4) and 
655.211(a) to covered H-2 logging employers. These rules provide for 
annual adjustments of the previous year's allowable charges based upon 
Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.
    Each year the maximum charges allowed by 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) and 
655.202(b)(4) are changed by the same percentage as the twelve-month 
percent change in the CPI for all Urban Consumers for Food (CPI-U for 
Food) between December of the year just past and December of the year 
prior to that. Those regulations and 20 CFR 655.111(a) and 655.211(a) 
provide that the appropriate Regional Administrator (RA), Employment 
and Training Administration, may permit an employer to charge workers 
no more than a higher maximum amount for providing them with three 
meals a day, if justified and sufficiently documented. Each year, the 
higher maximum amounts permitted by 20 CFR 655.111(a) and 655.211(a) 
are changed by the same percentage as the twelve-month percent change 
in the CPI-U for Food between December of the year just past and 
December of the year prior to that. The regulations require the 
Administrator, Office of Workforce Security, to make the annual 
adjustments and to cause a notice to be published in the Federal 
Register each calendar year, announcing annual adjustments in allowable 
charges that may be made by covered agricultural and logging employers 
for providing three meals daily to their U.S. and alien workers. The 
2000 rates were published in a notice on February 4, 2000 at 65 FR 
5696.
    DOL has determined the percentage change between December of 1999 
and December of 2000 for the CPI-U for Food was 2.3 percent.
    Accordingly, the maximum allowable charges under 20 CFR 
655.102(b)(4), 655.202(b)(4), 655.111, and 655.211 were adjusted using 
this percentage change, and the new permissible charges for 2001 are as 
follows: (1) for 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) and 655.202(b)(4), the charge, if 
any, shall be no more than $8.18 per day, unless the RA has approved a 
higher charge pursuant to 20 CFR 655.111 or 655.211(b); for 20 CFR 
655.111 and 655.211, the RA may permit an employer to charge workers up 
to $10.13 per day for providing them with three meals per day, if the 
employer justifies the charge and submits to the RA the documentation 
required to support the higher charge.

C. Maximum Travel Subsistence Expense

    The regulations at 20 CFR 655.102(b)(5) establish that the minimum 
daily subsistence expense related to travel expenses, for which a 
worker is entitled to reimbursement, is the employer's daily charge for 
three meals or, if the employer makes no charge, the amount permitted 
under 20 CFR 655.104(b)(4). The regulation is silent about the maximum 
amount to which a qualifying worker is entitled.
    The Department, in Field Memorandum 42-94, established that the 
maximum is the meals component of the standard CONUS (continental 
United States) per diem rate established by the General Services 
Administration (GSA) and published at 41 CFR Ch. 301. The CONUS meal 
component is now $30.00 per day.
    Workers who qualify for travel reimbursement are entitled to 
reimbursement up to the CONUS meal rate for related subsistence when 
they provide receipts. In determining the appropriate amount of 
subsistence reimbursement, the employer may use the GSA system under 
which a traveler qualifies for meal expense reimbursement per quarter 
of a day. Thus, a worker whose travel occurred during two quarters of a 
day is entitled, with receipts, to a maximum reimbursement of $15.00. 
If a worker has no receipts, the employer is not obligated to reimburse 
above the minimum stated at 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) as specified above.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 27th day of July, 2001.
Grace A. Kilbane,
Administrator, Office of Workforce Security.
[FR Doc. 01-19298 Filed 8-1-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-30-P



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