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Migrant Labor Law

Updates to Administrative Code Chapter DWD 301: Effective Feb 1, 2024

Chapter DWD 301, which includes requirements for employers who hire migrant seasonal agricultural workers, migrant labor contractors, and housing for migrant seasonal agricultural workers.

The changes to DWD 301 will go into effect on Feb. 1, 2024. A summary of changes are listed below.

Employers, camp operators, and migrant labor contractors are required to comply with the updated regulations. Migrant labor camp operators who already have received their camp certification or submitted their camp application will need to provide any additional application materials and make any updated updates to the camp to come into compliance.

Those who cannot comply can submit a request to receive a variance from specific requirements. The department may grant permission to individual camp operators to vary from particular provisions. The variance application can be found online

Find updates, templates, new and revised forms at the department's Migrant Seasonal Farm Workers website.

The department gathered input on these changes from members of the Governor’s Council on Migrant Labor, which is made up of representatives of employers who hire migrant workers, migrant labor advocates, and elected representatives. The department also met with an ad hoc committee of the Governor's Council on Migrant Labor to provide feedback on proposed changes. Updates were made based on their feedback.

The following summarizes updates to DWD 301.

Migrant Labor Camps

Application for a Permit to Operate a Migrant Labor Camp Updates:

  • Camp application fee is $100 year-round.
  • Camp operators must provide documentation from the local fire department confirming that their property meets local and state fire codes for the number of expected occupants with their camp application.
  • Camp operators must submit written procedures for how the camp operator plans to isolate sick or injured workers if isolation is required with their camp application. Isolation locations can include hotels, motels, or other public accommodations.

Facility Updates:

  • Food preparation and sleeping quarters must be at least 500 feet from livestock.
  • Mobile units must be at least 10 feet from streets, other buildings, and property lines.
  • Showerheads must be provided at a ratio of 1:8. Camp operators have until Feb. 1, 2028 to comply with this requirement.
  • Urinals are required when there are 10 or more male occupants and then at the ration of 1:25. Camp operators have until Feb. 1, 2028 to comply with this requirement.
  • Dryers are required at a ratio of 1:20.
  • Washing machines are required at ratio of 1:20.
  • Guardrails are required for the top bunk in bunk beds.
  • Updated contents of first aid kits include items described in American National Standard (ANSI) Z308.1-1998, in addition to face masks.
  • Refrigerators must be maintained at 40 degrees.
  • Screening is required only on windows and doors used for ventilation.
  • Camp operators must make written requests for advance notice of aerial pesticide applications from owners of immediately adjacent land, and provide notice to camp occupants of any pesticide application at least 24 hours in advance.
  • The updated rule clarifies the corrections period for violations and revocation of camp certifications.
  • Camp operators must submit plans for new construction to DWD when the new construction, addition, or alteration is to build housing for more than two families, for use by more than eight people not in the same family, or common use facilities of a certain size.

Disease and illness prevention:

  • The updated rule requires reporting of certain diseases/symptoms to local health officials.
    • This is already a requirement of the Department of Health Services (DHS).
    • Find more information from DHS.
  • Individuals with communicable diseases are prohibited from preparing/serving food in camps.
  • Camp operators must establish procedures for isolating sick workers and space for isolation, similar to existing DHS requirements for summer camps.
  • People reasonably suspected of having a communicable disease must be isolated for the amount of time recommended by public health authorities.

Field Sanitation Standards

  • Employers must provide 1 quart per worker per hour for drinking.
  • Employers must train workers and supervisors to monitor for heat illnesses, establish a heat illness prevention plan that ensures effective communication during an emergency in the field.
  • Employers must provide shade and the opportunity to take breaks when temperatures exceed 80°F.
  • If temperatures exceed 95 degrees, employers must implement high heat procedures that are included in their heat illness prevention plan. The plan must:
    • Ensure effective communication to emergency services and demonstrate that workers know how to direct emergency services to their location.
    • Cover observation of workers.
    • Designate a worker to call for emergency service and empower other workers to do so.
    • Remind workers to drink water.
    • Remind workers of their right to take breaks.
    • Establish pre-shift meetings to discuss these procedures and the right to take preventative cool-down rests as necessary.

Written Recruiting Disclosure Statements and Migrant Work Agreements

As updated, the rule:

  • Clarifies requirements for electronic signatures. Electronic signatures can be used but they must comply with Wis. Stat. 137.
  • Clarifies time period covered by the minimum work guarantee.
    • Minimum guarantee covers the period from when the worker is notified to report to work, which shall be reasonably related to the approx.
    • beginning date. Reasonably related is no greater than 15% of the length of the work agreement or 10 days, whichever is shorter.
    • The end date is the date specified in the work agreement.
  • Supports workers required to isolate due to disease by considering them available for work for purposes of the minimum guarantee.

Migrant Labor Contractors

As updated, the rule:

  • Requires applicants to hold a valid federal Farm Labor Contractor certificate of registration and provide it to the department in order to be certified as a Migrant Labor Contractor in Wisconsin.
  • Clarifies appeals process if migrant labor contractor certification is denied.

Please reach out to with questions.

COVID-19 Updates and Information

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Recommendations

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued DPH Numbered Memo BCD 2022-13 on September 1, 2022. This memo updates and supersedes recommendations outlined in DPH Numbered Memo BCD 2022-08 issued on June 3, 2022. The memo is to employers of migrant and seasonal workers, health care providers, local and tribal health officers with recommendations for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. The information in this memo describes public health measures for employers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among migrant and seasonal workers, including recommendations for prevention, screening, vaccination, and referral for treatment.

COVID-19 Resources

Additional information and resources to assist employers of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, migrant labor camp operators, and migrant labor contractors in mitigating the risk and spread of COVID-19 among migrant workers can be found below:

Inspection and Certification of All Migrant Camps in the State

Migrant Labor field staff are assigned a specific geographic area in which pre-occupancy inspections are performed. Each migrant camp must meet specific standards in order to qualify for certification. Certification is issued only after a determination is made by a field inspector that a migrant camp has met all standards required by state law.

Work Agreement Reviews

Field staff are responsible for ensuring that migrant workers are provided with a Work Agreement at the time of recruitment or prior to the commencement of employment, whichever is earlier. Each inspector will visit all the migrant camps assigned to them to determine whether a migrant worker was provided with a Work Agreement. It is the responsibility of each inspector to explain to the migrant worker all aspects of that agreement and to assure that the employer who provides the agreement complies with all the terms and conditions of employment as outlined in that agreement and as required by law.

Migrant Labor Contractors

Field staff are responsible to monitor and register all known migrant labor contractorsr in the state. Migrant Labor Contractors means any person, who, for a fee or other consideration, on behalf of another person, recruits, solicits, hires, or furnishes migrant workers, excluding members of the contractor's immediate family, for employment in this state. Migrant Labor Contractors must comply with specific regulations and must apply with the department and obtain a certificate from the department to operate in this state. Migrant Labor Contractor are monitored regularly to ensure compliance with the state laws.

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) requires a contractor to obtain federal certification prior to performing any farm labor contracting activities. Generally, the MSPA applies to any person (or business) who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes, or transports migrant or seasonal agricultural workers (the MSPA refers to these activities as "farm labor contracting activities"). Persons employed by farm labor contractors (farm labor contractor employees) to perform such activities on behalf of the contractor are also required to register with the U.S. Department of Labor.

To register or obtain more information regarding federal registration please visit The United States Department of Labor's website.

Field Sanitation

Effective January 1, 1986, employers who hire 6 or more migrant workers who are engaged in hand labor must provide sanitation facilities to their workers. Field staff are responsible for the inspection of "field sanitation" facilities and assure that those facilities are provided, kept clean and in sanitary condition.

Complaint Investigation

Field staff are responsible for the investigation of all complaints of apparent violations of the migrant law. Any person may file a complaint and it will be investigated. Unresolved complaints may be referred to the appropriate Federal or State enforcement agency.