What’s Going on with DOL Prevailing Wage Determinations?

DOL’s National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) currently is not issuing Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs), nor are they reviewing requests for reconsideration or appeals to the Center Director. These processes are on hold at this time as the NPWC is required to reissue approximately 4,000 H-2B wage determinations, to reflect the new H-2B wage rates that will apply for H-2B employment on or after September 30, 2011.

Q: How long will the suspension of prevailing wage determinations last?

This is unclear. In the rule published on August 1, DOL indicated that while they will be able to reissue all of the required H-2B wage determinations before October 1, they also stated that DOL could not reissue all 4,000 required H-2B wage determinations before August 31, 2011. DOL has not issued any estimate on when they will resume processing prevailing wages.

Q: Is there any way to expedite a prevailing wage request?

DOL’s policy is that they will not expedite, and applications will be handled on a first-in, first-out basis.

Q: What is AILA liaison doing about the PWD delays?

AILA liaison has been in communication with DOL for the past several weeks about the prevailing wage delays (as well as other problems related to the new SOC codes introduced on July 1), and has forwarded specific requests for guidance to DOL. AILA has also asked that DOL immediately resume processing all prevailing wage requests, as suspension of prevailing wage determinations prevents employers from filing any PERM applications. DOL will be holding a call with AILA liaison and other stakeholders next week on prevailing wages, and we hope that DOL will be able to provide some estimate on PWD processing times, as well as whether any relief may be available for PERM cases that must be filed due to AC-21 requirements, expiring recruitment, or other reasons.