Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Punching In: New Research Finds Scarce DOL Enforcement on Farms,” by Rebecca Rainey and Riddhi Setty.

Following is an excerpt:

Rebecca Rainey: The federal Wage and Hour Division currently has the capacity to investigate fewer than 1% of farm employers per year, underscoring the agency’s struggles to enforce labor law and reach some of the most vulnerable workers.

US Labor Department wage investigations on farms have dropped by more than 60% over the past 22 years, and have largely focused on violations of the H-2A visa program for seasonal migrant farmworkers, the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute study found. …

In fiscal year 2022 WHD closed only 879 farm investigations, a record low for the division, according to the report. However, the data doesn’t include cases that are still pending and may not be fully representative of the division’s work at the time.

Labor advocates and the Biden administration have called on Congress for help, attributing the decline to a lack of resources and attrition among staff. The wage division is tasked with protecting over 143 million workers at more than 9.8 million workplaces across the country. …

Management-side attorneys said it’s important to put the data in perspective with other enforcement conducted by the wage division.

Paul DeCamp, a former Wage and Hour administrator now a management-side attorney with Epstein Becker & Green PC, noted that the investigation rate for farm employers cited by the report is “actually not out of line with the proportion of workplaces generally that get investigated over the course of the year.”

“In fact, the numbers would be lower for non agriculture,” he said in an interview.


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