How will health care law affect seasonal farm workers?
The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last week on the health care overhaul law will affect everyone, from the halls of power on Capitol Hill to farmers and ranchers on hillsides across the country. However you feel about the law, it will surely alter the way business is done in this country, whatever business you’re in.
The law’s full ramifications aren’t quite clear yet, but immediately after the ruling, many in the agriculture community were none too pleased with the law’s implementation. According to produce industry trade publication The Packer, seasonal workers –vital to many producers – especially complicate the health care ruling.
As written, the health care law still has holes that leave some workers falling through the cracks, industry leaders said. The health care law fails to account for the fact that seasonal workers have several employers, said said Tom Nassif, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers.
“It appears that the majority of migrant workers won’t work anywhere long enough to have mandated coverage,” Gasperini said.
However, Gasperini said farm labor contractors could face larger health care costs.
“If individual farmers use farm labor contractors, they will have to pay because farm labor contractors will be required to have benefits,” he said.
Farmers are small (or, sometimes, large) businesspeople and the health care law will impact all kinds of businesses. Many farm industry leaders are wary of the law The Packer says.
Legislation is needed on the federal level that deals with undocumented and seasonal workers, Nassif said. “The law was designed for people who work 8 to 5 in offices and not for people who were going to have a different employer every couple of weeks or every couple of months,” he said.