We have received two calls this morning from Lubbock area gins that have been visited today by the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. We have talked about these inspections for years during our district meetings. They are looking at whether gins are properly recording hours worked and properly paying overtime, which gins should have no problem documenting. They are also looking for the DOL 516 form that we discussed during the district meetings. This form must be provided to all migrant workers upon hire and to all seasonal workers upon request. It is probably best to just provide it to all your migrant and seasonal workers at the time of hire. Be sure you have listed their pay rate, your workers compensation carrier and the hire date. For the end of employment date, I would write “completion of ginning season”. They will probably interview your employees, and inspect your employees’ packets. They may ask to take copies of the packets. You may want to give them blank packets instead of an employees package in order to avoid giving out personal information to the DOL.
The last item they seem to be focusing on is employee housing. We will see what recommendations are made related to employee housing, but one inspector indicated that employers with housing should post the DOL WH-520 form. We are seeing this form for the first time, and I suspect we may be using a state form that would suffice as a replacement, but at this point this is an issue that will require a little further investigation.
Since this all started this morning, we don’t have a lot of additional information related to what these inspectors are looking for, but we will let you all know if we hear anything else that may help you prepare for a possible inspection at your gin. Our industry has had a good history of compliance with Wage and Hour issues, so we don’t expect significant issues from these inspections, but we will let you all know how it goes as this issue unfolds. Please let us know if you receive an inspection from DOL, and we will help you walk through the process.