Migrant and seasonal worker protection

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Updated: 4/11/2007 10:26 am Published: 4/11/2007 10:26 am

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, also known as the MSPA (M-S-P-A), was enacted to protect the rights of farm workers on matters of pay and working conditions. Under the Act, farm labor contractors, agricultural employers, agricultural associations, and providers of migrant housing are required to meet certain minimum requirements in their dealings with migrant and seasonal workers. The major requirements of MSPA include disclosing written information about wages, hours, and other working conditions to migrant and seasonal workers in their own language before they begin work and providing them with written statements of earnings and deductions. Copies of these payroll records must be kept and preserved by the employer for at least three years. When transportation and housing are provided, employers must ensure that they meet federal safety and health standards. The law also requires that farm labor contractors register with the U.S. Department of Labor before recruiting, soliciting, hiring, employing, furnishing, or transporting any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker. Employers who use the services of a farm labor contractor are legally responsible for taking steps to determine that the contractor has a valid certificate of registration. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces all regulations under the MSPA. During a MSPA investigation, agents may enter and inspect premises, review and transcribe payroll and other records, and interview employers and employees. Any violations of MSPA regulations may result in civil and criminal penalties of up to $1000 (one thousand dollars), back wage assessments, and loss of certificates of registration.

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