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New H-2B Wage Rule Will Not Go Into Effect

Rule would have increased the hourly wage paid to H-2B workers, in most instances.

The American Horse Council reports that Congress has taken action that will prohibit the Department of Labor from implementing a new wage rule for the H-2B program that would have taken effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The action was taken when Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations bill that funds most federal agencies through Sept. 31, 2012.

The wage rule, in most instances, would have increased the hourly wage that must be paid to all current and future H-2B workers and American workers recruited in connection with an H-2B job application. The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs at racetracks, horse shows, fairs, and in similar non-agricultural activities, according to the AHC. (More information on the wage rule)

The Omnibus bill combined the remaining nine Appropriations bills, including: Defense, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior/Environment, Labor/Health and Human Services/Education, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, and State/Foreign Operations. The bill concludes the FY 2012 appropriations process and makes certain the government will operate until September 31. 

The AHC advisory said the Labor/Health and Human Services/Education title of the bill specifically prohibits the DOL from using any funds to implement or enforce the new wage rule for the 2012 fiscal year and that President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.