Summer is here and with it comes hard work at farms across the country. The law requires employers to keep their workers safe on the job, housed in safe and sanitary residential facilities, and to pay them their legally required wages. The Wage and Hour Division enforces the law to protect workers, and also ensure that businesses playing by the rules aren’t hurt by those who reduce their labor costs by breaking the law and cheating their workers.
Education and outreach has been and will continue to be one of our key strategies for promoting sustained industrywide compliance. Workers who are aware of their rights and employers who are aware of their legal responsibilities are able to identify and fix labor violations or to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
To help, we’ve developed new materials in English and Spanish to help agricultural employers and workers better understand their responsibilities and rights. A new video and a new booklet for employers provide simple and comprehensive information on the laws and requirements governing agricultural employment, covering topics including wages, housing, transportation and field sanitation.
We are also releasing a revised pocket card for agricultural workers that informs them of their rights and provides information on how to file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division if they believe these rights have been violated.
Protecting the wages and safety of agricultural workers is a high priority for me and my staff. Doing so requires that agricultural employers have all of the information they need to comply with applicable laws, and these new materials were created in direct response to feedback we received from employers and other stakeholders. They will help make sure that workers know their rights and employers know their responsibilities to achieve that priority. We’ll be widely distributing them through our ongoing outreach efforts and events.
Agricultural work is important, and as in other sectors, it must be done in an environment that makes sure that employees receive a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work and that employers face a level playing field.
David Weil is the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.