The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new rule that would strengthen H-2A worker protections.

If passed, the rule would enact a series of changes that regulate  a range of things from labor organization to seat belts.

The agency said in a news release the proposals aim to prevent abuses that undermine wages and standards for all agricultural workers.

Here are some of the proposed changes:

—Expand and clarify existing anti-retaliation protections and expand workers’ rights to accept guests, including labor organizers, at employer-provided housing.

—Clarify when an employer can terminate an employee “for cause.”

—Require employers to provide copies of agreements with labor recruiters, either domestic or abroad.

—Require seat belts on farm buses.

—Require overtime and productivity standard disclosures to make wages more predictable.

—Allow multiple business entities with common ownership to operate as a single employer for the purposes of establishing seasonal needs and employment.

The Department of Labor will accept public comment through mid-November. The full text of the proposed changes is available at:

by Ross Courtney