Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of H-2A and H-2B Foreign Workers in the United States: 2017 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers' Meals and for Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Including Lodging, 17881-17882 [2017-07464]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 70 / Thursday, April 13, 2017 / Notices Dated: April 10, 2017. Kira Antell, Senior Counsel, Office of Legal Policy. Employment and Training Administration BILLING CODE 4410–18–P DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Notice of Lodging Proposed Consent Decree In accordance with Departmental Policy, 28 CFR 50.7, notice is hereby given that a proposed Consent Decree in United States v. Georgia Coastal Land Co., et al., No. 2:16–cv–00060–LGW– RSB, was lodged with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on April 7, 2017. This proposed Consent Decree concerns a complaint filed by the United States against Georgia Coastal Land Company, Provident Land Holdings Company, Provident Construction Company, and William L. Nutting, pursuant to Sections 301, 309, and 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1311(a), 1319(g)(9), and 1344(s), to obtain injunctive relief from and impose civil penalties against the Defendants for violating the Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants without a permit into waters of the United States. The proposed Consent Decree resolves these allegations by requiring the Defendants to restore impacted areas and perform mitigation, and to pay civil and administrative penalties. The Department of Justice will accept written comments relating to this proposed Consent Decree for thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this Notice. Please address comments to Samara Spence, Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Defense Section, Post Office Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044 and refer to United States v. Georgia Coastal Land Co., et al., DJ #90–5–1–1–20782. The proposed Consent Decree may be examined at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick Division, 801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520. In addition, the proposed Consent Decree may be examined electronically at http://www.justice.gov/ enrd/consent-decrees. Cherie L. Rogers, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Defense Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division. [FR Doc. 2017–07499 Filed 4–12–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:51 Apr 12, 2017 Jkt 241001 Allowable Meal Charge DEPARTMENT OF LABOR [FR Doc. 2017–07512 Filed 4–12–17; 8:45 am] Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of H–2A and H–2B Foreign Workers in the United States: 2017 Allowable Charges for Agricultural Workers’ Meals and for Travel Subsistence Reimbursement, Including Lodging Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor is issuing this Notice to announce: (1) The allowable charges for 2017 that employers seeking H–2A workers in occupations other than range herding may charge their workers when the employer provides three meals a day, and (2) the maximum travel subsistence meal reimbursement that a worker with receipts may claim in 2017 under the H–2A and H–2B programs. The Notice also includes a reminder regarding employers’ obligations with respect to overnight lodging costs as part of required subsistence. DATES: Effective on April 13, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William W. Thompson, II, Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room PPII–12–200, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: 202–513–7350 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the telephone number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at 1–800– 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States (U.S.) Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security will not approve an employer’s petition for the admission of H–2A or H–2B nonimmigrant temporary workers in the U.S. unless the petitioner has received from the DOL an H–2A or H–2B labor certification. Both the H–2A and H–2B labor certifications provide that: (1) There are not sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available to perform the labor or services involved in the petition; and (2) the employment of the foreign worker(s) in such labor or services will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed. See 20 CFR 655.1(a)(H–2B); 20 CFR 655.100 (H–2A). SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17881 Among the minimum benefits and working conditions that the Department requires employers to offer their U.S. and H–2A workers who are not engaged in range occupations are three meals a day or free and convenient cooking and kitchen facilities so workers may prepare their own meals.1 See 20 CFR 655.122(g). Where the employer provides the meals, the job offer must state the charge, if any, to the worker for such meals. Id. The Department establishes the methodology for determining the maximum amounts that H–2A agricultural employers may charge their U.S. and foreign workers for providing them with three meals per day during employment. See 20 CFR 655.173(a). This methodology allows for annual adjustments of the previous year’s maximum allowable charge based upon updated U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI–U) data for Food, not seasonally adjusted. Id. The maximum charge allowed by 20 CFR 655.122(g) is adjusted by the same percentage as the 12-month percent change in the CPI for all Urban Consumers for Food (CPI–U for Food).2 Id. The OFLC Certifying Officer may also permit an employer to charge workers a higher amount for providing them with three meals a day, if the higher amount is justified and sufficiently documented by the employer, as set forth in 20 CFR 655.173(b). The percentage change in the CPI–U for Food between December 2015 and December 2016 was –0.2 percent.3 Accordingly, the maximum allowable charge under 20 CFR 655.122(g) shall be no more than $12.07 per day, unless the OFLC Certifying Officer approves a higher charge as authorized under 20 CFR 655.173(b). Reimbursement for Daily Travel Subsistence The H–2A regulations (20 CFR 655.122(h)(1)) and the H–2B regulations (20 CFR 655.20(j)(1)(i)) establish that the minimum daily travel subsistence expense for meals, for which a worker is entitled to reimbursement, must be at 1 H–2A employers must provide workers engaged in herding or the production of livestock on the range meals or food to prepare meals without charge or deposit charge. See 20 CFR 655.210(e). 2 The 12-month percent change in the CPI–U for Food for 2006 through 2016 is available through BLS’ Web site at https://www.bls.gov/cpi/. 3 In 2016, the maximum allowable charge under 20 CFR 655.122(g) was $12.09 per day. 81 FR 9885, 9886 (Feb. 26, 2016). As a result, the maximum allowable meal charge for 2017 has decreased only $.02. E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 17882 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 70 / Thursday, April 13, 2017 / Notices least as much as the employer would charge for providing the worker with three meals a day during employment (if applicable). The minimum daily travel subsistence expense for meals may in no event be less than the amount permitted under § 655.173(a), i.e., the charge annually adjusted by the 12-month percentage change in CPI–U for Food. The Department bases the maximum meals component of the daily travel subsistence expense on the standard minimum Continental United States (CONUS) per diem rate as established by the General Services Administration (GSA). The CONUS minimum meals component, reported as Meals and Incidental Expenses, remains $51.00 per day for 2017.4 Workers who qualify for travel reimbursement are entitled to reimbursement for meals up to the CONUS meal rate when they provide receipts. In determining the appropriate amount of reimbursement for meals for less than a full day, the employer may provide for meal expense reimbursement, with receipts, up to 75 percent of the maximum reimbursement for meals, or $38.25, based on the GSA per diem schedule. If a worker has no receipts, the employer is not obligated to reimburse above the minimum stated at 20 CFR 655.173 as specified above. The term ‘‘subsistence’’ includes both meals and lodging during travel to and from the worksite. Therefore, an H–2A employer is responsible for providing (either paying in advance or reimbursing a worker) the reasonable costs of transportation and daily subsistence between the employer’s worksite and the place from which the worker comes to work for the employer, if the worker completes 50 percent of the work contract period, and upon the worker completing the contract or being dismissed without cause, return costs. Similarly, an H–2B employer is responsible for providing (either paying in advance or reimbursing a worker) the reasonable costs of transportation and daily subsistence between the employer’s worksite and the place from which the worker comes to work for the employer, if the worker completes 50 percent of the job order period of employment, and upon the worker completing the job order period of employment or being dismissed early, return costs. In those instances where a worker must travel to obtain a visa so that the worker may enter the U.S. to come to work for the employer, the employer must pay for the 4 See Maximum Per Diem Rates for the Continental United States (CONUS), 81 FR 54805 (August 17, 2016); see also http://www.gsa.gov/ perdiem. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:51 Apr 12, 2017 Jkt 241001 transportation and daily subsistence costs of that part of the travel as well. Employers are required to assume responsibility for the reasonable costs associated with the worker’s travel, including transportation, food, and, in those instances where it is necessary, lodging. The minimum and maximum daily travel meal reimbursement amounts are established above. If transportation and lodging are not provided by the employer, the amount an employer must pay for transportation and, where required, lodging, must be no less than (and is not required to be more than) the most economical and reasonable costs. The employer is responsible for those costs necessary for the worker to travel to the worksite if the worker completes 50 percent of the work contract period, but is not responsible for unauthorized detours, and if the worker completes the contract or is dismissed as described above, return transportation and subsistence costs, including lodging costs where necessary. This policy applies equally to instances where the worker is traveling within the U.S. to the employer’s worksite. For further information on when the employer is responsible for lodging costs, please see the Department’s H–2A Frequently Asked Questions on Travel and Daily Subsistence, which may found on the OFLC Web site: http:// www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/. Byron Zuidema, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Department of Labor. [FR Doc. 2017–07464 Filed 4–12–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–FP–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training and Employer Outreach (ACVETEO): Meeting Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), Department of Labor. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the ACVETEO. The ACVETEO will discuss the DOL core programs and services that assist veterans seeking employment and raise employer awareness as to the advantages of hiring veterans. There will be an opportunity for individuals or organizations to address the committee. Any individual or organization that wishes to do so should contact Mr. Gregory Green at 202–693–4734. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Individuals who will need accommodations for a disability in order to attend the meeting (e.g., interpreting services, assistive listening devices, and/or materials in alternative format) should notify the Advisory Committee no later than Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by contacting Mr. Gregory Green at 202– 693–4734. Requests made after this date will be reviewed, but availability of the requested accommodations cannot be guaranteed. The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. This Notice also describes the functions of the ACVETEO. Notice of this meeting is required under Section 10(a) (2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. This document is intended to notify the general public. DATES: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at approximately 4:00 p.m. (EST). ADDRESSES: The meeting will take place at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, Conference Room N3437 A, B, C and D. Members of the public are encouraged to arrive early to allow for security clearance into the Frances Perkins Building. Mr. Gregory Green, Assistant Designated Federal Official for the ACVETEO, (202) 693–4734. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The ACVETEO is a Congressionally mandated advisory committee authorized under Title 38, U.S. Code, Section 4110 and subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, as amended. The ACVETEO is responsible for: assessing employment and training needs of veterans; determining the extent to which the programs and activities of the U.S. Department of Labor meet these needs; assisting to conduct outreach to employers seeking to hire veterans; making recommendations to the Secretary, through the Assistant Secretary for VETS, with respect to outreach activities and employment and training needs of Veterans; and carrying out such other activities necessary to make required reports and recommendations. The ACVETEO meets at least quarterly. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Agenda 9:30 a.m. Welcome and remarks, Sam Shellenberger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training 9:35 a.m. Administrative Business, Mika Cross, Designated Federal Official E:\FR\FM\13APN1.SGM 13APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 70 (Thursday, April 13, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17881-17882]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07464]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employment and Training Administration


Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of H-2A 
and H-2B Foreign Workers in the United States: 2017 Allowable Charges 
for Agricultural Workers' Meals and for Travel Subsistence 
Reimbursement, Including Lodging

AGENCY: Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Employment and Training Administration of the Department 
of Labor is issuing this Notice to announce: (1) The allowable charges 
for 2017 that employers seeking H-2A workers in occupations other than 
range herding may charge their workers when the employer provides three 
meals a day, and (2) the maximum travel subsistence meal reimbursement 
that a worker with receipts may claim in 2017 under the H-2A and H-2B 
programs. The Notice also includes a reminder regarding employers' 
obligations with respect to overnight lodging costs as part of required 
subsistence.

DATES: Effective on April 13, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William W. Thompson, II, 
Administrator, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room PPII-12-200, 
Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: 202-513-7350 (this is not a toll-free 
number). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the 
telephone number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal 
Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States (U.S.) Citizenship and 
Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security will not 
approve an employer's petition for the admission of H-2A or H-2B 
nonimmigrant temporary workers in the U.S. unless the petitioner has 
received from the DOL an H-2A or H-2B labor certification. Both the H-
2A and H-2B labor certifications provide that: (1) There are not 
sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available to 
perform the labor or services involved in the petition; and (2) the 
employment of the foreign worker(s) in such labor or services will not 
adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the 
U.S. similarly employed. See 20 CFR 655.1(a)(H-2B); 20 CFR 655.100 (H-
2A).

Allowable Meal Charge

    Among the minimum benefits and working conditions that the 
Department requires employers to offer their U.S. and H-2A workers who 
are not engaged in range occupations are three meals a day or free and 
convenient cooking and kitchen facilities so workers may prepare their 
own meals.\1\ See 20 CFR 655.122(g). Where the employer provides the 
meals, the job offer must state the charge, if any, to the worker for 
such meals. Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ H-2A employers must provide workers engaged in herding or 
the production of livestock on the range meals or food to prepare 
meals without charge or deposit charge. See 20 CFR 655.210(e).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Department establishes the methodology for determining the 
maximum amounts that H-2A agricultural employers may charge their U.S. 
and foreign workers for providing them with three meals per day during 
employment. See 20 CFR 655.173(a). This methodology allows for annual 
adjustments of the previous year's maximum allowable charge based upon 
updated U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) data 
for Food, not seasonally adjusted. Id. The maximum charge allowed by 20 
CFR 655.122(g) is adjusted by the same percentage as the 12-month 
percent change in the CPI for all Urban Consumers for Food (CPI-U for 
Food).\2\ Id. The OFLC Certifying Officer may also permit an employer 
to charge workers a higher amount for providing them with three meals a 
day, if the higher amount is justified and sufficiently documented by 
the employer, as set forth in 20 CFR 655.173(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The 12-month percent change in the CPI-U for Food for 2006 
through 2016 is available through BLS' Web site at https://www.bls.gov/cpi/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The percentage change in the CPI-U for Food between December 2015 
and December 2016 was -0.2 percent.\3\ Accordingly, the maximum 
allowable charge under 20 CFR 655.122(g) shall be no more than $12.07 
per day, unless the OFLC Certifying Officer approves a higher charge as 
authorized under 20 CFR 655.173(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ In 2016, the maximum allowable charge under 20 CFR 
655.122(g) was $12.09 per day. 81 FR 9885, 9886 (Feb. 26, 2016). As 
a result, the maximum allowable meal charge for 2017 has decreased 
only $.02.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reimbursement for Daily Travel Subsistence

    The H-2A regulations (20 CFR 655.122(h)(1)) and the H-2B 
regulations (20 CFR 655.20(j)(1)(i)) establish that the minimum daily 
travel subsistence expense for meals, for which a worker is entitled to 
reimbursement, must be at

[[Page 17882]]

least as much as the employer would charge for providing the worker 
with three meals a day during employment (if applicable). The minimum 
daily travel subsistence expense for meals may in no event be less than 
the amount permitted under Sec.  655.173(a), i.e., the charge annually 
adjusted by the 12-month percentage change in CPI-U for Food.
    The Department bases the maximum meals component of the daily 
travel subsistence expense on the standard minimum Continental United 
States (CONUS) per diem rate as established by the General Services 
Administration (GSA). The CONUS minimum meals component, reported as 
Meals and Incidental Expenses, remains $51.00 per day for 2017.\4\ 
Workers who qualify for travel reimbursement are entitled to 
reimbursement for meals up to the CONUS meal rate when they provide 
receipts. In determining the appropriate amount of reimbursement for 
meals for less than a full day, the employer may provide for meal 
expense reimbursement, with receipts, up to 75 percent of the maximum 
reimbursement for meals, or $38.25, based on the GSA per diem schedule. 
If a worker has no receipts, the employer is not obligated to reimburse 
above the minimum stated at 20 CFR 655.173 as specified above.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ See Maximum Per Diem Rates for the Continental United States 
(CONUS), 81 FR 54805 (August 17, 2016); see also http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The term ``subsistence'' includes both meals and lodging during 
travel to and from the worksite. Therefore, an H-2A employer is 
responsible for providing (either paying in advance or reimbursing a 
worker) the reasonable costs of transportation and daily subsistence 
between the employer's worksite and the place from which the worker 
comes to work for the employer, if the worker completes 50 percent of 
the work contract period, and upon the worker completing the contract 
or being dismissed without cause, return costs. Similarly, an H-2B 
employer is responsible for providing (either paying in advance or 
reimbursing a worker) the reasonable costs of transportation and daily 
subsistence between the employer's worksite and the place from which 
the worker comes to work for the employer, if the worker completes 50 
percent of the job order period of employment, and upon the worker 
completing the job order period of employment or being dismissed early, 
return costs. In those instances where a worker must travel to obtain a 
visa so that the worker may enter the U.S. to come to work for the 
employer, the employer must pay for the transportation and daily 
subsistence costs of that part of the travel as well.
    Employers are required to assume responsibility for the reasonable 
costs associated with the worker's travel, including transportation, 
food, and, in those instances where it is necessary, lodging. The 
minimum and maximum daily travel meal reimbursement amounts are 
established above. If transportation and lodging are not provided by 
the employer, the amount an employer must pay for transportation and, 
where required, lodging, must be no less than (and is not required to 
be more than) the most economical and reasonable costs. The employer is 
responsible for those costs necessary for the worker to travel to the 
worksite if the worker completes 50 percent of the work contract 
period, but is not responsible for unauthorized detours, and if the 
worker completes the contract or is dismissed as described above, 
return transportation and subsistence costs, including lodging costs 
where necessary. This policy applies equally to instances where the 
worker is traveling within the U.S. to the employer's worksite.
    For further information on when the employer is responsible for 
lodging costs, please see the Department's H-2A Frequently Asked 
Questions on Travel and Daily Subsistence, which may found on the OFLC 
Web site: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/.

Byron Zuidema,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Department of 
Labor.
[FR Doc. 2017-07464 Filed 4-12-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4510-FP-P