Labor Dept. Publishes 2015 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers’ Meals and Travel Reimbursements
On February 23, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) published allowable charges for H-2A agricultural workers’ meals and travel subsistence reimbursement, including lodging.
DOL provides the methodology for determining the maximum amounts that H-2A agricultural employers may charge their U.S. and foreign workers for providing them with three meals per day during employment. This methodology provides for annual adjustments of the previous year’s maximum allowable charge based upon updated Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. The maximum charge is adjusted by the same percentage as the 12-month percent change in the CPI for all Urban Consumers for Food (CPI-U for Food). The Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s Certifying Officer may also permit an employer to charge workers a higher amount for providing them with three meals a day, if the higher amount is justified and sufficiently documented by the employer.
DOL has determined that the percentage change between December 2013 and December 2014 for the CPI-U for Food was 2.4 percent. Accordingly, the maximum an employer is allowed to charge is $11.86 per day, unless the OFLC Certifying Officer approves a higher charge for a specific employer.
The notice also discusses the requirement that the employer assume responsibility for reasonable costs associated with the worker’s travel, including transportation, food, and, in those instances where it is necessary, lodging.