Join today!
What seasonal employers need to know.


Labor Alert
September 8, 2016
Wage and Practices Surveys
Washington and Oregon

In the coming weeks, many growers in Washington and Oregon will receive a wage and practices survey from their state employment agency. The survey is voluntary, and in most cases, individual results will be kept confidential. Should you complete it?

To answer the question, it helps to know the survey’s purpose. The federal government is requiring states whose farmers use H-2A to conduct surveys. The primary purpose of the surveys is to set minimum piece rates for growers who use H-2A. A secondary purpose is to mandate prevailing practices; if, for example, a majority of growers who do not use H-2A offer free housing for non-employee family members, growers who use H-2A must do the same. 

Last year, wafla advised Washington state that it was not properly following federal guidelines, which mandate that piece rates with hourly wage guarantees such as the ones provided by H-2A employers must be surveyed separately, for the obvious reason that they represent a different and potentially higher pay to the worker. This year Washington state agreed with wafla and has changed its survey to align it with the wafla recommendation. 

With this change, wafla believes the survey will present more accurate data on wages and practices. And while it is up to each individual company to decide whether or not to complete the survey, wafla believes it will benefit employers if they complete the survey. Another change: this year the state will send the survey to fewer growers, reaching out to a sample of 3,000 agricultural employers, so don't be surprised if you received a survey last year but not this year.

Wafla has scheduled a webinar for its members taking place Thursday, September 22 from 11 a.m. to noon, conducted by the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD). ESD will explain the survey and answer questions. We urge Washington growers to attend! Learn more.

Wafla has placed a request with the Oregon Employment Department to provide a similar webinar for later in the month and we are awaiting their response. Watch your inbox for more information.


This information is produced by wafla for informational purposes only. The items contained herein are provided for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Wafla does not provide legal advice or counsel; and readers should make their own inquiries before making any decision based on this or any other information received from wafla. If you have questions regarding this alert, please contact the editor, Kim Bresler.

Copyright © 2016 wafla. All rights reserved.
Contact email:

8830 Tallon Lane Northeast, Suite C, Lacey, WA  98516
Copyright © 2017 wafla. All rights reserved.

Contact Us

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software