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Migrant Labor Law

COVID-19 Updates and Information

Emergency Rule 2204 Providing Protections for Migrant Workers from COVID-19

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) promulgated Emergency Rule 2204 (EmR2204) in Chapter DWD 301 for the protection of migrant workers from the virus known as COVID-19.

EmR2204 was approved by the Governor on February 18, 2022, was published February 25, 2022 and is effective as of March 1, 2022. The expiration date for EmR2204 is July 28, 2022.

Note, this rule is not identical to the prior emergency rules, EmR2109 which expired on December 13, 2021, and EmR2014 which expired on March 8, 2021. EmR2204 contains new requirements for the protections of migrant workers from COVID-19 that are based on updated guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The rule text can be found here:

Resources for Employers

EmR2204 requires that operators submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan for each migrant labor camp that the camp operator maintains. See, Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 301.07(11)(k). DWD has created a template that camp operators may use to comply with this new requirement.

COVID-19 Safety Plan Template

Some employers may need to submit a variance request, as defined under Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 301.07(7), to comply with the new requests. DWD has created a fillable form for such requests: Variance Application Form (DWE-5942)

DWD has also created a EmR2204 Housing Checklist that camp operators must complete for each camp as part of the housing inspection requirements under Wis. Admin Code § DWD 301.07.

EmR2204 Housing Checklist

Questions can be directed to Migrant Labor Inspectors via email at MSFW@dwd.wisconsin.gov. Consult your local public health office for additional pandemic related guidance.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Recommendations

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued DPH Numbered Memo BCD 2022-08 on June, 3, 2022. This memo updates and supersedes recommendations outlined in DPH Numbered Memo BCD 2020-29 issued on November 12, 2020. The memo is to employers of migrant and seasonal workers, health care providers, local and tribal health officers with recommendations for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. The information in the memo describes public health measures for employers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among migrant and seasonal workers, including recommendations for prevention, screening, vaccination, and referral for treatment.

COVID-19 Resources

Inspection and Certification of All Migrant Camps in the State

Migrant Labor field staff are assigned a specific geographic area in which pre-occupancy inspections are performed. Each migrant camp must meet specific standards in order to qualify for certification. Certification is issued only after a determination is made by a field inspector that a migrant camp has met all standards required by state law.

Work Agreement Reviews

Field staff are responsible for ensuring that migrant workers are provided with a Work Agreement at the time of recruitment or prior to the commencement of employment, whichever is earlier. Each inspector will visit all the migrant camps assigned to them to determine whether a migrant worker was provided with a Work Agreement. It is the responsibility of each inspector to explain to the migrant worker all aspects of that agreement and to assure that the employer who provides the agreement complies with all the terms and conditions of employment as outlined in that agreement and as required by law.

Crew Leader

Field staff are responsible to monitor and register all known crew leaders in the state. Crew leaders who recruit migrant workers to work in the State of Wisconsin must comply with specific regulations and must obtain a certificate from the department to operate in this state. Crew leaders are monitored regularly to insure compliance with the state laws.

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) requires a contractor to obtain federal certification prior to performing any farm labor contracting activities. Generally, the MSPA applies to any person (or business) who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, or transports migrant or seasonal agricultural workers (the MSPA refers to these activities as "farm labor contracting activities"). Persons employed by farm labor contractors (farm labor contractor employees) to perform such activities on behalf of the contractor are also required to register with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Certain persons and organizations, such as small businesses meeting the exemption criteria of 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(6)(A), are exempt from the Act and are not required to register as farm labor contractors. In addition, establishments meeting the MSPA definition of an "agricultural association" or "agricultural employer," are not required to register as a farm labor contractor. Contact the Wage and Hour Division at (866) 487-9243, TTY: (877) 889-5627, if you have any questions as to whether you must register with the U.S. Department of Labor as a farm labor contractor.

To register or obtain more information please visit The United States Department of Labor's website.

Field Sanitation

Effective January 1, 1986, employers who hire 6 or more migrant workers who are engaged in hand labor must provide sanitation facilities to their workers. Field staff are responsible for the inspection of "field sanitation" facilities and assure that those facilities are provided, kept clean and in sanitary condition.

Complaint Investigation

Field staff are responsible for the investigation of all complaints of apparent violations of the migrant law. Any person may file a complaint and it will be investigated. Unresolved complaints may be referred to the appropriate Federal or State enforcement agency.

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