Guestworker “Wage Rule” Block Pending

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With the federal government shut-down, the administration is blocked from spending money on anything but emergency services, so—for the time being—the Department of Labor is blocked from enforcing the 2011 Wage Rule governing H-2B reforestation guestworkers and from enforcing the 2013 “interim final rule” which it enacted this spring in order to have a legally available Wage Rule to impose. Neither the 2011 Wage Rule nor the 2013 Wage Rule may be enforced from October 1, 2013 on until House and Senate appropriators pass a bill releasing the necessary funds.

If Congress breaks the current impasse with a Continuing Resolution carrying forward the previous Appropriations bill, it will probably carry forward the funding block on the 2011 Wage Rule for whatever period of time that CR governs—probably one or two months. One of FRA’s requests at the September 18 Fly-In was for such a “block” to cover the 2013 rule, as well, although obtaining that additional relief will present challenges.

We hope to have more information in the coming days, as Congress works to end the shut-down. Background on the H-2B Reforestation Guestworker issue at this link.