New AEWR Published in Federal Register Today

The new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) was officially published today. You can find the Federal Register notice Here. The AEWR is the minimum that H-2A workers can get paid on a per hour basis. In effect it’s the minimum wage for H-2A workers.

The AEWR that was published is exactly as expected from the Farm Labor Survey. Please refer to my previous Blog post below. Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina will be $14.68. Florida is $14.77 and North Carolina and Virginia are going to be $15.81. Although these are outrageous wages and increases over the current rates, the southeast has some of the lowest AEWR’s in the country. For example the NW is 19.25. Colorado is $16.50, the Northeast US is $17.80 and Michigan is $18.50.

These rates apply to the “Big 6” job classifications for non-range or herders. Those jobs are:

  • 45-2041 – Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products.  
  • 45-2091 – Agricultural Equipment Operators.  
  • 45-2092 – Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse.  
  • 45-2093 – Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals.  
  • 53-7064 – Packers and Packagers, Hand.  
  • 45-2099 – Agricultural Workers, All Other. 
    (jobs in a cotton gin generally fall under 45-2019 – Ag Equipment Operators)

These rates will begin on January 1, 2024. If you have any H-2A workers on or after January 1, 2024 you need to begin paying them the higher rate that day…regardless of the contract terms. Any applications made for work in 2024 will also need to be at the higher rate. The rates for any occupations outside of the “Big 6” such as heavy truck drivers will change in July when the new OES is released.

As discussed in the previous article, the Farm labor Survey is used to develop the AEWR. It was never intended for that purpose. The National Council of Ag Employers has filed another petition to change the formulation of the AEWR.

Give us a call if you have any questions.