Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Holubec Farms in Midkiff, Texas, pays more than $14,000 to workers following US Labor Department investigation
$7,000 in civil money penalties also assessed
MIDKIFF, Texas -- Holubec Farms in Midkiff has paid $14,207 in back wages to 10 farmworkers after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the provisions of the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, established under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The division has assessed $7,000 in civil money penalties for the violations
“The Labor Department will ensure that companies participating in the H-2A program explicitly follow the law,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.
“Employees, especially those who are most vulnerable, are entitled to receive the wages they rightfully earned.” An investigation by the division’s Albuquerque District Office, which has jurisdiction over Midkiff, found that Holubec Farms violated the FLSA by failing to pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The employer violated H-2A program provisions by failing to pay 10 workers the rates certified in their contracts, provide transportation to the U.S. as required and properly maintain accurate payroll records.
Holubec Farms is a cotton producer, and cantaloupe and watermelon grower. The employer has agreed to comply with all federal labor laws in the future, and the back wages owed have been paid in full.
The H-2A temporary agricultural program establishes a means for agricultural employers that anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the United States to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work. The employer must file an application stating that there are not sufficient domestic workers available, and the employment of these workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Employers using the H-2A program must meet a number of specific conditions for recruiting, paying, housing, feeding and transporting workers. More information about H-2A requirements is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs26a.htm.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
For more information about federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the division’s Albuquerque office at 505-248-6100. Information also is available at www.dol.gov/whd.
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