DOL Issues Final Rule on Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment


Agricultural Employers


June 28, 2024


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Quick Look

  • The DOL issues a final rule governing the employment of temporary agricultural workers.
  • The final rule focuses on strengthening protections for temporary agricultural workers and enhancing the DOL’s capabilities to monitor program compliance and take necessary enforcement actions against program violators.


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule strengthening protections for temporary agricultural workers by making several changes to H-2A program. The H-2A program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers when the department determines there is a lack of able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers to perform the agricultural labor or services, and that employing temporary labor will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

The final rule seeks to bolster the DOL’s efforts to prevent adverse effects on workers in the U.S. and ensure that H-2A workers are employed only when there are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers available to perform the work. The final rule goes into effect on June 28, 2024.

The final rule includes provisions empowering workers to advocate on behalf of themselves and their coworkers regarding working conditions; improving accountability for employers using the H-2A program; improving transparency and accountability in the foreign labor recruitment process; requiring seat belts in most vehicles used to transport workers; enhancing existing enforcement provisions; improving transparency into the nature of the job opportunity by collecting additional information about owners, operators, managers, and supervisors to better enforce program requirements; clarifying when a termination is “for cause” to protect essential worker rights; and revising provisions and codifying protections that are outdated, unclear, or subject to misinterpretation in the current regulations. The final rule also strengthens protections for temporary agricultural workers when employers fail to properly notify workers that the start date of work is delayed, and clarifies and streamlines procedures to prevent noncompliant employers from using the Employment Service.

Action Items

  1. Review the final rule here.
  2. Revise policies and procedures for compliance with new standards.
  3. Consult with legal counsel regarding the H-2A Visa process and the temporary employment of foreign workers.


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