The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently published its final rule adjusting civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by the Department for any Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations associated with a workplace safety and health inspections. The DOL is required by law to annually adjust its civil penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15th of each year.

The new penalty assessments went into effect January 16, 2023. The minimum and maximum amounts are as follows:

With the recent onset of unprecedented rainstorms, with yet another major front moving in this week and next week, planting and harvesting activities will be severely constrained.

Below are a few important recommendations to consider before engaging in agricultural operations due to excessive rain or flooding in your fields.

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law two new Bills offering additional protections for pregnant and lactating workers.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

The PWFA prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Under the PWFA, a qualified employee is an employee/applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position, with specified exceptions.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a massive hike in immigration petition fees, including fees to petition for H-2A visas for temporary and seasonal agricultural workers. Under the proposed rule, published by USCIS on Jan. 4, 2023, the fee for an H-2A Petition for unnamed beneficiaries would increase from the current $460 to $530, a 15% increase.  The fee for an H-2A Petition for named beneficiaries would rise from the current $460 to a whopping $1,090, a 137% hike.

Jason Resnick

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Work Place Regulations

Labor shortages and work place regulations are critical issues for our industry and our employees.

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