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Title 20

Displaying title 20, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 20 was last amended 8/27/2021.

Title 20

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§ 653.501 Requirements for processing clearance orders.

(a) Assessment of need. No ES office or SWA official may place a job order seeking workers to perform farmwork into intrastate or interstate clearance unless:

(1) The ES office and employer have attempted and have not been able to obtain sufficient workers within the local labor market area; or

(2) The ES office anticipates a shortage of local workers.

(b) ES office responsibilities.

(1) Each ES office must ensure the agricultural clearance form prescribed by the Department (ETA Form 790 or its subsequently issued form), and its attachments are complete when placing intrastate or interstate clearance orders seeking workers.

(2) All clearance orders must be posted in accordance with applicable ETA guidance. If the job order for the ES office incorporates offices beyond the local office commuting area, the ES office must suppress the employer information in order to facilitate the orderly movement of workers within the ES.

(3) ES staff must determine, through a preoccupancy housing inspection performed by ES staff or an appropriate public agency, that the housing assured by the employer is either available and meets the applicable housing standards or has been approved for conditional access to the clearance system as set forth in § 653.502; except that mobile range housing for sheepherders and goatherders must meet existing Departmental guidelines and/or applicable regulations.

(c) SWA responsibilities.

(1) SWAs must ensure intrastate and interstate clearance orders:

(i) Include the following language: “In view of the statutorily established basic function of the ES as a no-fee labor exchange, that is, as a forum for bringing together employers and job seekers, neither the ETA nor the SWAs are guarantors of the accuracy or truthfulness of information contained on job orders submitted by employers. Nor does any job order accepted or recruited upon by the ES constitute a contractual job offer to which the ETA or a SWA is in any way a party;”

(ii) Do not contain an unlawful discriminatory specification including, for beneficiaries (as defined in 29 CFR 38.4) only, on the basis of citizenship status or participant status;

(iii) Are signed by the employer; and

(iv) State all the material terms and conditions of the employment, including:

(A) The crop;

(B) The nature of the work;

(C) The anticipated period and hours of employment;

(D) The anticipated starting and ending date of employment and the anticipated number of days and hours per week for which work will be available;

(E) The hourly wage rate or the piece rate estimated in hourly wage rate equivalents for each activity and unit size;

(F) Any deductions to be made from wages;

(G) A specification of any non-monetary benefits to be provided by the employer;

(H) Any hours, days, or weeks for which work is guaranteed, and, for each guaranteed week of work except as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section, the exclusive manner in which the guarantee may be abated due to weather conditions or other acts of God beyond the employer's control; and

(I) Any bonus or work incentive payments or other expenses which will be paid by the employer in addition to the basic wage rate, including the anticipated time period(s) within which such payments will be made.

(2) SWAs must ensure:

(i) The wages and working conditions offered are not less than the prevailing wages and working conditions among similarly employed farmworkers in the area of intended employment or the applicable Federal or State minimum wage, whichever is higher. If the wages offered are expressed as piece rates or as base rates and bonuses, the employer must make the method of calculating the wage and supporting materials available to ES staff who must check if the employer's calculation of the estimated hourly wage rate is reasonably accurate and is not less than the prevailing wage rate or applicable Federal or State minimum wage, whichever is higher; and

(ii) The employer has agreed to provide or pay for the transportation of the workers and their families at or before the end of the period of employment specified in the job order on at least the same terms as transportation is commonly provided by employers in the area of intended employment to farmworkers and their families recruited from the same area of supply. Under no circumstances may the payment or provision of transportation occur later than the departure time needed to return home to begin the school year, in the case of any worker with children 18 years old or younger, or be conditioned on the farmworker performing work after the period of employment specified in the job order.

(3) SWAs must ensure the clearance order includes the following assurances:

(i) The employer will provide to workers referred through the clearance system the number of hours of work cited in paragraph (c)(1)(iv)(D) of this section for the week beginning with the anticipated date of need, unless the employer has amended the date of need at least 10 business days prior to the original date of need (pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) by so notifying the order-holding office in writing (email notification may be acceptable). The SWA must make a record of this notification and must attempt to inform referred workers of the change expeditiously.

(ii) No extension of employment beyond the period of employment specified in the clearance order may relieve the employer from paying the wages already earned, or if specified in the clearance order as a term of employment, providing transportation or paying transportation expenses to the worker's home.

(iii) The working conditions comply with applicable Federal and State minimum wage, child labor, social security, health and safety, farm labor contractor registration and other employment-related laws.

(iv) The employer will expeditiously notify the order-holding office or SWA by emailing and telephoning immediately upon learning that a crop is maturing earlier or later, or that weather conditions, over-recruitment or other factors have changed the terms and conditions of employment.

(v) The employer, if acting as a farm labor contractor (“FLC”) or farm labor contractor employee (“FLCE”) on the order, has a valid Federal FLC certificate or Federal FLCE identification card and when appropriate, any required State farm labor contractor certificate.

(vi) The availability of no cost or public housing which meets the Federal standards and which is sufficient to house the specified number of workers requested through the clearance system. This assurance must cover the availability of housing for only those workers, and when applicable, family members who are not reasonably able to return to their residence in the same day.

(vii) Outreach staff must have reasonable access to the workers in the conduct of outreach activities pursuant to § 653.107.

(viii) The job order contains all the material terms and conditions of the job. The employer must assure this by signing the following statement in the clearance order: “This clearance order describes the actual terms and conditions of the employment being offered by me and contains all the material terms and conditions of the job.”

(4) If a SWA discovers that an employer's clearance order contains a material misrepresentation, the SWA may initiate the Discontinuation of Services as set forth in part 658, subpart F of this chapter.

(5) If there is a change to the anticipated date of need and the employer fails to notify the order-holding office at least 10 business days prior to the original date of need the employer must pay eligible (pursuant to paragraph (d)(4) of this section) workers referred through the clearance system the specified hourly rate of pay, or if the pay is piece-rate, the higher of the Federal or State minimum wage for the first week starting with the originally anticipated date of need or provide alternative work if such alternative work is stated on the clearance order. If an employer fails to comply under this section the order holding office may notify the Department's Wage and Hour Division for possible enforcement.

(d) Processing clearance orders.

(1) The order-holding office must transmit an electronic copy of the approved clearance order to its SWA. The SWA must distribute additional electronic copies of the form with all attachments (except that the SWA may, at its discretion, delegate this distribution to the local office) as follows:

(i) At least one copy of the clearance order must be sent to each of the SWAs selected for recruitment (areas of supply);

(ii) At least one copy of the clearance order must be sent to each applicant-holding ETA regional office;

(iii) At least one copy of the clearance order must be sent to the order-holding ETA regional office; and

(iv) At least one copy of the clearance order must be sent to the Regional Farm Labor Coordinated Enforcement Committee and/or other Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Wage and Hour Division regional agricultural coordinators, and/or other committees as appropriate in the area of employment.

(2) The ES office may place an intrastate or interstate order seeking workers to perform farmwork for a specific farm labor contractor or for a worker preferred by an employer provided the order meets ES nondiscrimination criteria. The order would not meet such criteria, for example, if it requested a “white male crew leader” or “any white male crew leader.”

(3) The approval process described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section does not apply to clearance orders that are attached to applications for foreign temporary agricultural workers pursuant to part 655, subpart B, of this chapter; such clearance orders must be sent to the processing center as directed by ETA in guidance. For non-criteria clearance orders (orders that are not attached to applications under part 655, subpart B, of this chapter), the ETA regional office must review and approve the order within 10 business days of its receipt of the order, and the Regional Administrator or his/her designee must approve the areas of supply to which the order will be extended. Any denial by the Regional Administrator or his/her designee must be in writing and state the reasons for the denial.

(4) The applicant holding office must notify all referred farmworkers, farm labor contractors on behalf of farmworkers, or family heads on behalf of farmworker family members, to contact an ES office, preferably the order-holding office, to verify the date of need cited in the clearance order between 9 and 5 business days prior to the original date of need cited in the clearance order; and that failure to do so will disqualify the referred farmworker from the first weeks' pay as described in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section. The SWA must make a record of this notification.

(5) If the worker referred through the clearance system contacts an ES office (in any State) other than the order holding office, that ES office must assist the referred worker in contacting the order holding office on a timely basis. Such assistance must include, if necessary, contacting the order holding office by telephone or other timely means on behalf of the worker referred through the clearance system.

(6) ES staff must assist all farmworkers, upon request in their native language, to understand the terms and conditions of employment set forth in intrastate and interstate clearance orders and must provide such workers with checklists in their native language showing wage payment schedules, working conditions, and other material specifications of the clearance order.

(7) If an order holding office learns that a crop is maturing earlier than expected or that other material factors, including weather conditions and recruitment levels have changed since the date the clearance order was accepted, the SWA must contact immediately the applicant holding office which must inform immediately crews and families scheduled to report to the job site of the changed circumstances and must adjust arrangements on behalf of such crews and families.

(8) When there is a delay in the date of need, SWAs must document notifications by employers and contacts by individual farmworkers or crew leaders on behalf of farmworkers or family heads on behalf of farmworker family members to verify the date of need.

(9) If weather conditions, over-recruitment, or other conditions have eliminated the scheduled job opportunities, the SWAs involved must make every effort to place the workers in alternate job opportunities as soon as possible, especially if the worker(s) is/are already en route or at the job site. ES staff must keep records of actions under this section.

(10) Applicant-holding offices must provide workers referred on clearance orders with a checklist summarizing wages, working conditions and other material specifications in the clearance order. Such checklists, where necessary, must be in the workers' native language. The checklist must include language notifying the worker that a copy of the original clearance order is available upon request. SWAs must use a standard checklist format provided by the Department (such as in Form WH516 or a successor form).

(11) The applicant-holding office must give each referred worker a copy of the list of worker's rights described in the Department's ARS Handbook.

(12) If the labor supply SWA accepts a clearance order, the SWA must actively recruit workers for referral. In the event a potential labor supply SWA rejects a clearance order, the reasons for rejection must be documented and submitted to the Regional Administrator having jurisdiction over the SWA. The Regional Administrator will examine the reasons for rejection, and, if the Regional Administrator agrees, will inform the Regional Administrator with jurisdiction over the order-holding SWA of the rejection and the reasons. If the Regional Administrator who receives the notification of rejection does not concur with the reasons for rejection, that Regional Administrator will inform the National Monitor Advocate, who, in consultation with the appropriate ETA higher authority, will make a final determination on the acceptance or rejection of the order.

[81 FR 56341, Aug. 19, 2016, as amended at 85 FR 628, Jan. 6, 2020]