Hourly wage increase benefits many Michigan agricultural workers

RELEASE DATE: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
CONTACT: Mike Murray, 517-335-2020

LANSING, MI —The hourly wage for Michigan’s temporary or seasonal nonimmigrant foreign agricultural workers increased from $13.54 to $14.40 per hour as of Jan. 2, 2020. Positions paying this wage offer great opportunities for workers to earn above the state’s minimum wage rate of $9.65 per hour.

The 86-cent hourly increase was the result of the revised Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) established by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. The AEWR is the hourly wage rate paid to temporary or seasonal nonimmigrant foreign workers (H-2A workers) who perform agricultural labor or services, excluding the herding or production of livestock on the range.

U.S. workers are also entitled to this wage if they are hired to work with an agricultural employer under an H-2A employment contract. AEWRs are established for each state annually so the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers in the state will not be adversely affected by the employment of H-2A workers.

“The food and agriculture industry contributes more than $100 billion to Michigan’s economy annually, and supporting our farmers’ efforts in meeting their labor needs is a priority,” said Hector Arroyo Jr. who manages Agricultural Employment Services for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “The State of Michigan provides a variety of resources, such as the Migrant Services Worker and Foreign Labor Certification programs, to support the state’s agriculture industry.”

In addition to the minimum hourly wage, housing may also be provided at no cost to H-2A and U.S. workers who are commuting a distance that would prevent them from returning to their home on the same day of work.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity anticipates there will be several hundred agricultural job opportunities available throughout the state this year. These job listings are posted on the Pure Michigan Talent Connect website, MiTalent.org.

To learn more about agricultural employment opportunities, call the Agricultural Recruitment Hotline at 855-633-2373. More information is also available by contacting any Michigan Works! Service Center at 800-285-WORKS (9675) or MichiganWorks.org.