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[Federal Register: February 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 34)]
[Notices]               
[Page 7909-7911]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21fe07-71]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration

 
Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of 
Aliens in Agriculture and Logging in the United States: 2007 Adverse 
Effect Wage Rates, Allowable Charges for Agricultural and Logging 
Workers' Meals, and Maximum Travel Subsistence Reimbursement

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs), allowable charges 
for meals, and maximum travel subsistence reimbursement for 2007.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. 
Department of Labor (Department or DOL) is issuing this Notice to 
announce the 2007 AEWRs for employers seeking to employ temporary or 
seasonal nonimmigrant foreign workers to perform agricultural labor or 
services (H-2A workers) or logging (H-2 logging workers); the allowable 
charges for 2007 that employers seeking H-2A workers and H-2 logging 
workers may levy upon their workers when three meals a day are provided 
by the employer; and the maximum travel subsistence reimbursement which 
a worker with receipts may claim in 2007.
    AEWRs are the minimum wage rates the Department has determined must 
be offered and paid by employers of H-2A workers or H-2 logging workers 
to U.S. and foreign workers. AEWRs are established in order to prevent 
the employment of these foreign workers from adversely affecting wages 
of similarly employed U.S. workers. The Department also announces the 
minimum and maximum charge of travel subsistence expenses a worker may 
claim in 2007.

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 21, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William L. Carlson, Administrator, 
Office of Foreign Labor Certification, U.S. Department of Labor, Room 
C-4312, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: 
202-693-3010 (this is not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services may not approve an employer's petition for admission of H-2A 
workers or H-2 logging workers in the United States unless the 
petitioner has received from DOL an H-2A or H-2 labor certification, as 
appropriate. Approved labor certifications attest: (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 
foreign worker in such labor or services will not adversely affect the 
wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed. 
8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a),1184(c), and 1188.
    DOL's regulations for the H-2A and H-2 program require employers to 
offer and pay their U.S., H-2A, and H-2 workers no less than the 
appropriate hourly AEWR in effect at the time the work is performed. 20 
CFR 655.102(b)(9)

[[Page 7910]]

and 655.202(b)(9). See also 20 CFR 655.107, 20 CFR 655.207, and the 
preamble of the Final Rule, 54 FR 28037-28047 (July 5, 1989), which 
explains in great depth the purpose and history of AEWRs, DOL's policy 
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 for 2007

    AEWRs are the minimum wage rates which must be offered and paid to 
U.S. and foreign workers by employers of H-2A workers or H-2 logging 
workers. Employers of H-2A workers must pay the highest of (i) the AEWR 
in effect at the time the work is performed, (ii) the applicable 
prevailing wage, or (iii) the statutory minimum wage, as specified in 
the regulations. 20 CFR 655.102(b)(9). As U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) regional surveys are not available for logging 
occupations, employers of H-2 logging workers must pay at least the 
prevailing wage in the area of intended employment, which is deemed to 
be the AEWR. 20 CFR 655.202(b)(9) and 20 CFR 655.207(a).
    Except as otherwise provided in 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, the 
region-wide AEWR for all agricultural employment (except those 
occupations deemed inappropriate under the special circumstance 
provisions of 20 CFR 655.93) for which temporary 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 USDA. 20 CFR 655.107(a). USDA does not provide data on 
Alaska.
    20 CFR 655.107(a) requires the Assistant Secretary, Employment and 
Training Administration, to publish USDA field and livestock worker 
(combined) wage data as AEWRs in a Federal Register Notice. 
Accordingly, the 2007 AEWRs for agricultural work performed by U.S. and 
H-2A workers on or after the effective date of this Notice are set 
forth in the table below:

                 Table.--2007 Adverse Effect Wage Rates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           State                              2007 AEWR
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama....................................................         8.51
Arizona....................................................         8.27
Arkansas...................................................         8.01
California.................................................         9.20
Colorado...................................................         8.64
Connecticut................................................         9.50
Delaware...................................................         9.29
Florida....................................................         8.56
Georgia....................................................         8.51
Hawaii.....................................................        10.32
Idaho......................................................         8.76
Illinois...................................................         9.88
Indiana....................................................         9.88
Iowa.......................................................         9.95
Kansas.....................................................         9.55
Kentucky...................................................         8.65
Louisiana..................................................         8.01
Maine......................................................         9.50
Maryland...................................................         9.29
Massachusetts..............................................         9.50
Michigan...................................................         9.65
Minnesota..................................................         9.65
Mississippi................................................         8.01
Missouri...................................................         9.95
Montana....................................................         8.76
Nebraska...................................................         9.55
Nevada.....................................................         8.64
New Hampshire..............................................         9.50
New Jersey.................................................         9.29
New Mexico.................................................         8.27
New York...................................................         9.50
North Carolina.............................................         9.02
North Dakota...............................................         9.55
Ohio.......................................................         9.88
Oklahoma...................................................         8.66
Oregon.....................................................         9.77
Pennsylvania...............................................         9.29
Rhode Island...............................................         9.50
South Carolina.............................................         8.51
South Dakota...............................................         9.55
Tennessee..................................................         8.65
Texas......................................................         8.66
Utah.......................................................         8.64
Vermont....................................................         9.50
Virginia...................................................         9.02
Washington.................................................         9.77
West Virginia..............................................         8.65
Wisconsin..................................................         9.65
Wyoming....................................................         8.76
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For all logging employment, the AEWR shall be the prevailing wage 
rate in the area of intended employment, and the employer is required 
to pay at least that rate. 20 CFR 655.207(a).

B. Allowable Meal Charges

    Among the minimum benefits and working conditions which DOL 
requires employers to offer their U.S., H-2A, and H-2 logging workers 
are three meals a 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 that 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 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 adjusted by the same percentage as the twelve-month 
percent change in the CPI for all Urban Consumers for Food (CPI-U for 
Food). ETA may permit an employer to charge workers no more than the 
higher maximum amount set forth in 20 CFR 655.111(a) and 655.211(a), as 
applicable, 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. 
The program's regulations require DOL to make the annual adjustments 
and to publish a Notice in the Federal Register each calendar year, 
announcing annual adjustments in allowable charges that may be made by 
agricultural and logging employers for providing three meals daily to 
their U.S. and foreign workers. The 2006 rates were published in the 
Federal Register at 71 FR 13633 (March 16, 2006).
    DOL has determined the percentage change between December of 2005, 
and December of 2006, for the CPI-U for Food was 2.4 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 2007 are as follows: (1) 
Charges under 20 CFR 655.102(b)(4) and 655.202(b)(4) shall be no more 
than $9.52 per day, unless ETA has approved a higher charge pursuant to 
20 CFR 655.111 or 655.211 and (2) charges under 20 CFR 655.111 and 
655.211 shall be no more than $11.80 per day, if the employer justifies 
the charge and submits to ETA 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 travel subsistence expense, for which a worker is entitled to 
reimbursement, is equivalent to the employer's daily charge for three 
meals or, if the employer makes no charge, the amount permitted under 
20 CFR 655.102(b)(4). The regulation is silent about the maximum amount 
to which a qualifying worker is entitled.
    The Department established the maximum meals component of the 
standard Continental United States (CONUS) per diem rate established by 
the General Services Administration

[[Page 7911]]

(GSA) and published at 41 CFR Pt. 301, Appendix A. The CONUS meal 
component is now $39.00 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 $19.50. 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 in Washington, DC this 13th day of February, 2007.
Emily Stover DeRocco,
Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration.
 [FR Doc. E7-2859 Filed 2-20-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-30-P




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