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e-CFR data is current as of August 6, 2020

Title 20Chapter VPart 655Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 20: Employees' Benefits
PART 655—TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES
Subpart B—Labor Certification Process for Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States (H-2A Workers)


Post Certification

§655.170   Extensions.

An employer may apply for extensions of the period of employment in the following circumstances.

(a) Short-term extension. Employers seeking extensions of 2 weeks or less of the certified Application for Temporary Employment Certification must apply directly to DHS for approval. If granted, the Application for Temporary Employment Certification will be deemed extended for such period as is approved by DHS.

(b) Long-term extension. Employers seeking extensions of more than 2 weeks may apply to the CO. Such requests must be related to weather conditions or other factors beyond the control of the employer (which may include unforeseen changes in market conditions). Such requests must be supported in writing, with documentation showing that the extension is needed and that the need could not have been reasonably foreseen by the employer. The CO will notify the employer of the decision in writing if time allows, or will otherwise notify the employer of the decision. The CO will not grant an extension where the total work contract period under that Application for Temporary Employment Certification and extensions would be 12 months or more, except in extraordinary circumstances. The employer may appeal a denial of a request for an extension by following the procedures in §655.171.

(c) Disclosure. The employer must provide to the workers a copy of any approved extension in accordance with §655.122(q), as soon as practicable.

§655.171   Appeals.

Where authorized in this subpart, employers may request an administrative review or de novo hearing before an ALJ of a decision by the CO. In such cases, the CO will send a copy of the OFLC administrative file to the Chief ALJ by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The Chief ALJ will immediately assign an ALJ (which may be a panel of such persons designated by the Chief ALJ from the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA)).

(a) Administrative review. Where the employer has requested administrative review, within 5 business days after receipt of the ETA administrative file the ALJ will, on the basis of the written record and after due consideration of any written submissions (which may not include new evidence) from the parties involved or amici curiae, either affirm, reverse, or modify the CO's decision, or remand to the CO for further action. The decision of the ALJ must specify the reasons for the action taken and must be immediately provided to the employer, the CO, the OFLC Administrator and DHS by means normally assuring next-day delivery.

(b) De novo hearing—(1) Conduct of hearing. Where the employer has requested a de novo hearing the procedures in 29 CFR part 18 apply to such hearings, except that:

(i) The appeal will not be considered to be a complaint to which an answer is required;

(ii) The ALJ will ensure that the hearing is scheduled to take place within 5 business days after the ALJ's receipt of the OFLC administrative file, if the employer so requests, and will allow for the introduction of new evidence; and

(iii) The ALJ's decision must be rendered within 10 calendar days after the hearing.

(2) Decision. After a de novo hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the CO's determination, or remand to the CO for further action, except in cases over which the Secretary has assumed jurisdiction pursuant to 29 CFR 18.95. The decision of the ALJ must specify the reasons for the action taken and must be immediately provided to the employer, CO, OFLC Administrator, and DHS by means normally assuring next-day delivery.

[75 FR 6959, Feb. 12, 2010, as amended at 85 FR 13028, Mar. 6, 2020; 85 FR 30614, May 20, 2020]

§655.172   Withdrawal of job order and application for temporary employment certification.

(a) Employers may withdraw a job order from intrastate posting if the employer no longer plans to file an Application for Temporary Employment Certification. However, a withdrawal of a job order does not nullify existing obligations to those workers recruited in connection with the placement of a job order pursuant to this subpart or the filing of an Application for Temporary Employment Certification.

(b) Employers may withdraw an Application for Temporary Employment Certification once it has been formally accepted by the NPC. However, the employer is still obligated to comply with the terms and conditions of employment contained in the Application for Temporary Employment Certification with respect to workers recruited in connection with that application.

§655.173   Setting meal charges; petition for higher meal charges.

(a) Meal charges. Until a new amount is set under this paragraph, an employer may charge workers up to $10.64 for providing them with three meals per day. The maximum charge allowed by this paragraph (a) will be changed annually by the same percentage as the 12 month percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers for Food between December of the year just concluded and December of the year prior to that. The annual adjustments will be effective on the date of their publication by the OFLC Administrator as a Notice in the Federal Register. When a charge or deduction for the cost of meals would bring the employee's wage below the minimum wage set by the FLSA at 29 U.S.C. 206 the charge or deduction must meet the requirements of 29 U.S.C. 203(m) of the FLSA, including the recordkeeping requirements found at 29 CFR 516.27.

(b) Filing petitions for higher meal charges. The employer may file a petition with the CO to charge more than the applicable amount for meal charges if the employer justifies the charges and submits to the CO the documentation required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(1) Documentation submitted must include the cost of goods and services directly related to the preparation and serving of meals, the number of workers fed, the number of meals served and the number of days meals were provided. The cost of the following items may be included: Food; kitchen supplies other than food, such as lunch bags and soap; labor costs that have a direct relation to food service operations, such as wages of cooks and dining hall supervisors; fuel, water, electricity, and other utilities used for the food service operation; and other costs directly related to the food service operation. Charges for transportation, depreciation, overhead and similar charges may not be included. Receipts and other cost records for a representative pay period must be retained and must be available for inspection by the CO for a period of 1 year.

(2) The employer may begin charging the higher rate upon receipt of a favorable decision from the CO unless the CO sets a later effective date in the decision.

(c) Appeal rights. In the event the employer's petition for a higher meal charge is denied in whole or in part, the employer may appeal the denial. Appeals will be filed with the Chief ALJ, pursuant to §655.171.

§655.174   Public disclosure.

The Department will maintain an electronic file accessible to the public with information on all employers applying for temporary agricultural labor certifications. The database will include such information as the number of workers requested, the date filed, the date decided, and the final disposition.

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