New H-2A Farm Worker Protection Rule


New H-2A Farm Worker Protection Rule


AHC members who use the H-2A program as a source of seasonal agricultural employees need to be aware of new regulations.


The H-2A program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.


The Department of Labor (DOL) adopted changes to the program to “further strengthen protections for agricultural workers and enhance the Department’s enforcement capabilities, thereby permitting more effective enforcement against fraud and program violations.”


In fulfillment of that goal, the DOL’s final rule increases protections for workers who advocate for better working conditions (including forming or joining labor unions), clarifies the definition of justifiable termination for cause (“failure to meet productivity standards or failure to comply with employer policies or rules.”), and adds to the paperwork and disclosure recruitment process. The regulation also expands worker transportation safety by mandating seat belt use in certain vehicles that the employer provides.


The final rule is effective on June 28, 2024. However, H-2A applications filed before Aug. 28, 2024, will be processed according to applicable federal regulations as is in effect as of June 27, 2024. Applications submitted on or after Aug. 29, 2024, will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Farmworker Protection Rule.


For more information about the rule, visit the Employment and Training Administration and Wage and Hour Division.