The Department of Labor (DOL) has postponed for 60 days the effective date of the new wage rule for the H-2B Visa program from September 30, 2011 to November 30, 2011. This delay allows the DOL to ensure that it is properly administering the H-2B program under potentially conflicting court orders.
Many lawsuits have been filed that are related to the new wage rule. Horsemen’s groups joined employers and trade associations from other affected industries in a lawsuit against the DOL and were successful in gaining a Temporary Restraining Order on implementation of the changes.
The new DOL rule would change the methodology used to calculate hourly wage rates for current and future H-2B workers and is expected to raise rates by as much as 100 percent in some cases. Today, employers are required to pay such workers the highest rate of the prevailing wage, the federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or the local minimum wage. The new rule adjusts how the prevailing wage is determined.