President Obama signed into law earlier this month an appropriations package that contains language to further delay the effective date of the Department of Labor’s new wage rule for the H-2B Visa seasonal worker program. Specifically, the law prohibits any federal funds for fiscal year 2012 to be used to implement, administer or enforce the new rule prior to January 1, 2012. This follows earlier delays, including the most recent that was scheduled to be effective on Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
Currently, employers are required to pay H-2B Visa workers the highest of the prevailing wage, the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or the local minimum wage. The new rule changes the methodology used to calculate the prevailing wage employers must pay current and future H-2B Visa workers and some industries estimate increases of 100 percent.
Trainers and other industry members employ H-2B Visa workers to fill jobs that American workers are reluctant to accept. Employers may read more here about how to proceed during the delay, including how to handle prevailing wage determinations made for prior new rule effective dates.