The Senate Appropriations Committee recently adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Sen. Shelby’s amendment will prevent two new controversial rules for the H-2B visa temporary guest worker program from being implemented for one year. Thoroughbred trainers use the H-2B program when American workers are not available.
A new wage rule was the first of the two new H-2B rules scheduled to go into effect this year. This rule was to start on January 1, 2012 but the Department of Labor (DOL) was forced by Congress to delay this until October 1, 2012. The new wage rule requires employers to pay H-2B workers at a much higher rate than current levels.
A new H-2B program rule was to begin in April 2012 that requires employers to follow several new procedures when utilizing the program. Before this rule took effect, a federal district court judge in Florida issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevented the DOL from implementing the rule that would lead to higher costs and increased administrative burdens for employers.
The appropriations legislation including Sen. Shelby’s amendment now goes to the floor of the Senate.