Proposed H-2B Regulation Will Increase Worker Wages: Your Input Needed by November 4!
On October 5, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed regulation that would change the wage methodology the DOL uses to calculate H-2B prevailing wages and result in much higher wages for your workers. The DOL is accepting comments on the proposed rule until November 4, and it is essential that it hears the landscape industry’s concerns about this proposal. We need to send the DOL a strong message that we oppose dramatic increases in worker wages, especially in today’s tough economy. In addition to this proposal, later this year the, DOL still anticipates releasing another proposed rule that addresses other aspects of the H-2B program.
In developing prevailing wage estimates, the DOL currently bases prevailing wage determinations on four tiers that link skill levels to Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage surveys. The proposed rule would eliminate the use of the four-tiered wage structure and instead require that the arithmetic mean of the OES wage rates be used to calculate the prevailing wage. The proposed rule would also eliminate the option for employers to use private wage surveys to determine wages. The DOL estimates that this change in methodology will increase hourly wages for landscaping services by $3.60. This estimate is extremely conservative because it does not account for the resulting increases in pay to your American workforce and other additional expenses associated with the higher payroll charges.
Click here for a draft copy of a letter that outlines your concerns about the proposed regulations to the DOL. Please personalize this letter and submit it to the DOL through regulations.gov before November 4. You may want to include information about how many H-2B workers you currently use or how difficult it is to recruit American workers.
To submit your comments, please follow these steps:
- Go to regulations.gov.
- On the main screen, there is an option to search by key word. Enter 1205-AB61.This search term should bring up a docket of all of the comments submitted to the DOL.
- Under the first comment that comes up, click on "submit and comment." A form will open.
- Check the box that says "Comment directly on proposed rule." Then, complete the form. You can put your comment on that form, or save the comment on your letterhead and attach the document to the form by following the prompts provided.
- Click "submit" to file your comment.
Thank you very much for doing your part to fight this proposed regulation. If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to Tom Delaney or call him at (770) 925-7113.