BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – Employer Inappropriately Used Wage Range in Recruitment Efforts

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the final determination of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of “Supervisor, Laundry.”

The employer filed a LC which was accepted for processing on October 25, 2005. ETA Form 9089 indicated that the State Workforce Agency (SWA) prevailing wage determination was $19.04 per hour and the foreign alien was being offered a wage of $19.04 per hour. The CO issued an Audit Notification letter requesting documentation of recruitment efforts. The Employer responded by providing a copy of its New York job order listing a range of $18.00 to $19.50 per hour. Thereafter the CO issue a denial letter because the job order listed a wage that was less than the wage offered to the Alien, and that was less than the prevailing wage. The Employer thereafter requested reconsideration arguing that it was their practice to compensate applicants according to their experience – the reason for the range, and that the offer of $19.04 per hour was offered to the Alien and to any American worker. The CO issued a letter of reconsideration establishing that the denial was valid because the low end of the range was less than the prevailing wage determination.

PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(e) controls and it provides that most sponsoring employers are required to attest to having conducted requirement prior to filing an application for permanent employment certification. Among other requirements, the employer must have placed a job order with the SWA serving the area of intended employment. Furthermore, the employer must attest that the offered wage equals or exceeds the prevailing wage. In the instant case, the job order placed with the SWA states a wage range, the lower end of the wage range being $1.04 less per hour than the SWA’s prevailing wage determination. An employer can use a wage range in its printed recruitment efforts and in its notice of filing; however, the bottom of the range can be no less than the prevailing wage rate. BALCA stated that although the PERM regulations do not expressly state that the SWA job order must not state a wage lower than the PWD, the regulatory requirement that an employer attest to offering at least the prevailing wage and the statutory requirement that an employer pay 100% of the prevailing wage make it clear that the DOL will permit the use of wage ranges in recruitment only when the lower end of the range exceeds the prevailing wage rate.

Accordingly, the Board affirmed the decision of the CO in denying labor certification.

Matter of Marcel Cleaners, Inc.

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