Spring is a busy time for farms. Planting and cultivating crops takes hard work and requires the labor of many people. It’s also a busy time for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces the laws that protect agricultural workers and ensures a level playing field for their employers. In addition to enforcement, education and compliance assistance efforts are critical components in our approach to ensuring fair treatment for America’s agricultural workers.
Here at the Labor Department, we are committed to providing compliance assistance – working with employees, employers and industry associations to promote compliance across the board. Every year we host hundreds of outreach events where we provide direct guidance to employers through seminars and technical trainings. We also promote industry-wide compliance through partnerships with industry associations and other stakeholders.
In this competitive industry, growers, shippers, packers and other employers may feel pressure to reduce costs – but minding costs doesn’t have to come at the expense of workers’ wages and labor conditions.
So as the spring season kicks off, we want to remind farms and other agricultural employers that we’re here to assist them:
Compliance assistance efforts like outreach events and seminars are excellent opportunities to gain in-person information from our helpful staff. You can learn more by reaching out to your local district office.
Educational materials like this video and booklet for agricultural employers provide helpful information on requirements governing agricultural employment, covering topics such as wages, housing, transportation and field sanitation.
Confidential consultations are also available. Employers and employees alike may contact us for information at any time and are not required to provide their names when doing so.
We take seriously our responsibility to protect the wages and safety of agricultural workers, and doing so requires their employers to have all of the information they need. If you employ agricultural workers, we encourage you to reach out to us and engage our expertise and resources. Together, we can build a stronger culture of compliance in this industry.
Patricia Davidson is the deputy administrator for the Wage and Hour Division.Follow the Wage and Hour Division on Twitter as @WHD_DOL.