The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces some of the nation’s most comprehensive federal labor laws, and conducts investigations to determine compliance. These laws cover most employment throughout the United States and its territories, including most agricultural employment.
This guide provides agricultural employers with basic information about compliance with federal labor law. WHD administers and enforces the law without regard to the immigration status of employers or workers.
The Department of Labor offers this guide as a public service. The guide contains general information and does not carry the force of law or legal opinion. The United States Code, the Federal Register, and the Code of Federal Regulations remain the official sources for statutory and regulatory information.
Many states also enforce similar labor laws; employers must comply with all federal and state laws that apply to them.
As ESS Universal provides employee housing furniture and bunk beds for many migrant worker housing facilities, we thought it would be beneficial to share this information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Cultivating Compliance guide.
Housing Guidelines for Migrant or H-2A Workers
If an employer provides housing to workers, or owns or controls a facility that houses migrant or H-2A workers, it must be safe and sanitary. It must meet these requirements, at a minimum:
- A bed for each person
- Hot and cold running water
- Heat available when it is cold outside.
- Windows that open to provide adequate air flow in each room
- Screen doors with self-closing devices
- Adequate lighting
- No signs of infestations (no rodents, pests, insects, roaches in the housing)
- Clean kitchen area with a place to store food so it doesn’t spoil
- Durable, clean trashcans with lids that keep out flies and rodents
- Place to wash and dry clothes
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Sanitary bathrooms
- Separate toilets for men and women, with at least one toilet for every 15 people and an adequate amount of toilet paper
- At least one shower for every 10 people (every 15 people in some older camps)
- The area around the housing should be clean (no sewage, trash, or weeds)
The owner and the person in charge of the housing are responsible for keeping the housing safe and sanitary.
Agricultural employers and associations who contract for these services must use only farm labor contractors authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor for the services they provide (housing, transporting and/or driving). This information, including expiration dates of authorizations, is found on the Farm Labor Contractor Certificate of Registration that each contractor must carry at all times. Employers should ask to see this card before hiring a farm labor contractor.
Farm labor contractors that house workers must be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, and must have housing authorization for each building used to house agricultural workers.
Employers may be able to charge some employees for housing, but this charge must be reasonable and must be disclosed in the work contract.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.