Beginning January 1, 2020 a new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) will go into effect. The AEWR is effectively the minimum wage for H-2A workers. The wage is calculated each year based on a USDA survey of agricultural workers across the country and is largely regional in nature. The wages on average will be going up 6 percent according to the notice in today’s federal register.
The AEWR is calculated so that employers don’t bring in foreign workers at a rate that would depress local wages for US workers. The program as a whole is designed to discourage its use in terms of the hoops that the employer has to jump through and the wages that must be paid.
In our region the wage is bumping a little with Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina going from $11.13 to $11.71 and North Carolina and Virginia moving from $12.25 to $12.67 which is a 5.2% and a 3.4% increase respectively. Florida is increasing $11.24 to $11.71, a 4.2% increase.
If you or your producers are using H-2A workers after the first of the year, you must pay the increased AEWR beginning January 1. The complete list of wages and Federal Register Notice are available HERE. Give us a call if you have any questions.