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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [11/07/2011]
Contact Name: Michael D'Aquino or Michael Wald
Phone Number: (404) 592-2076 or x2078
Release Number: 11-1572-ATL (523)

US Department of Labor to offer free labor law trainings Dec. 5-7 for Florida agricultural employers, farm labor contractors

Compliance assistance workshops covering H-2A and MSPA rules to be held in Arcadia, Avon Park and Dover

TAMPA, Fla. — Agricultural employers and farm labor contractors in Florida are invited to attend free compliance assistance workshops this December organized by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division to increase compliance with the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and the H-2A section of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. These training sessions are part of the division's multi-year enforcement initiative aimed at strengthening compliance in Florida's agricultural industry.

Topics will include no-cost housing and transportation arrangements, employee work hours and wage rates, and record-keeping requirements. A special session during the trainings will include a discussion on ways to improve vehicle safety when transporting agricultural workers.

The first training will be held on Monday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. EST at South Florida Community College — DeSoto Campus, located at 2251 Turner Ave. NE, Arcadia, ZIP code 34266.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the same training will be held at 5:30 p.m. EST at South Florida Community College — Highlands Campus, located at 600 W. College Drive, Avon Park, ZIP code 33825.

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the training will be presented at 5:30 p.m. EST at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association Education and Event Center, located at 13138 Lewis Gallagher Road, Dover, ZIP code 33527.

To register or request more information on these free trainings, members of the public should contact Mike Rios in the Wage and Hour Division at 813-857-3868. The press should contact the individuals listed above with questions.

"The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that agricultural employers and farm labor contractors understand their responsibilities under federal labor laws," said James Schmidt, director of the Wage and Hour Division's District Office in Tampa. "The goal is to protect agricultural workers who are often denied the pay legally guaranteed to them and make sure that they receive all of the protections provided by federal labor law, while ensuring that law-abiding agriculture employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage for playing by the rules and paying fair wages."

Virtually all employees engaged in agriculture are covered by federal law because they produce goods for interstate commerce. Most agricultural employers, agricultural associations and farm labor contractors are subject to the MSPA, which protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and record keeping. The MSPA also requires farm labor contractors to register with the Department of Labor.

A fact sheet on the MSPA is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs49.pdf. Information on the Wage and Hour Division's enforcement activities related to the H-2A program for temporary, foreign agricultural workers is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/ag/ag_h-2a.htm.

Additionally, information about all of the federal labor laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division is available in English and Spanish by calling the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or by visiting its website at http://www.dol.gov/whd.