USDA Releases 2014 Farm Labor Survey, Used for H-2A Adverse Effect Wage Rates
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued the Farm Labor Survey (FLS) report establishing the average annual wage rates, by region and the United States, for field and livestock workers. The Department of Labor relies on the average annual combined hourly wage for field and livestock workers to establish the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) in the H-2A agricultural worker program. The AEWRs are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department has determined must be offered and paid by employers to H-2A workers and workers in corresponding employment, so that the wages of workers similarly employed in the United States will not be adversely affected.
The Department said it is reviewing the USDA FLS average annual wage rates for 2014 and will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing new Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) for each state. At that time the rates will become immediately effective.
The FLS report notes that farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $12.12 per hour during the October 2014 reference week, up 1 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $11.52 per hour, up 1 percent from a year earlier. Livestock workers earned $11.29, up 3 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $11.46 per hour, was up 19 cents from October 2013. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.3 hours during the October 2014 reference week, compared with 41.7 hours a year earlier.