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February 9, 2023

New 2023 Meal Charge and Subsistence Rates for H-2A Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has announced the allowable meal charges and reimbursement for travel subsistence for H-2A and H-2B workers, which was published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2023.  The new rates are effective immediately.

Allowable Meal Charge

H-2A employers must offer and provide each H-2A worker three meals per day or provide the workers free and convenient cooking facilities. If an employer elects to provide the meals to the H-2A workers, the job offer must state the charge, if any, to the worker for the meals. The updated maximum allowable meal charge in 2023 is $15.46 per day, up from $14.00 per day.  An employer is not permitted to charge a worker more than $15.46 per day unless the Certifying Officer approves a higher charge, upon presentation of evidence justifying the higher charge.

Reimbursement for Travel-Related Subsistence

H-2A employers must also pay travel and subsistence costs, including the costs of meals and lodging, incurred by H-2A workers during travel to the worksite from the place of departure in the H-2A workers’ home country, and from the place of employment to the place from which the worker departed to work for the employer, as well as any such costs incurred by the worker incident to obtaining a visa authorizing entry to the U.S. for the purpose of H-2 employment.

For 2023, the standard meal and incidental expense rate remains $59.00 per day (when receipts are provided), unchanged from 2022. For meals for less than a full day, the employer may limit the meal expense reimbursement, with receipts, to 75 percent of the maximum reimbursement for meals, or $44.25. If a worker does not provide receipts, the employer is not required to reimburse above the minimum standard of $15.46 per day.

An H-2A employer is responsible for providing, paying in advance, or reimbursing a worker for the reasonable costs of daily travel-related subsistence between the employer’s worksite and the place from which the worker has come to work for the employer, if the worker completes 50 percent of the work contract period. The employer must provide (or pay at the time of departure) the worker’s return costs upon the worker completing the contract or being dismissed without cause.

Additional information about H-2A meal charges and subsistence can be found on DOL’s website.

For questions about the H-2A program or assistance filing H-2A applications, contact WG’s Sr. Vice President and General Counsel, Jason Resnick ([email protected]).