The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that oversees minimum wage rules, overtime, recordkeeping and other labor standards. It applies to agricultural employment, which includes farming and farming operations.
Most employees who work in agriculture are covered by the FLSA and generally must be paid the federal minimum wage, but there are some exemptions from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements that are helpful to understand.
Agricultural employers who do not use more than 500 “man days” of labor in a calendar quarter do not have to pay minimum wage or overtime. A man day is any day when the employee does agricultural work for at least one hour.
They are also not required to pay minimum wage or overtime to employees who are immediate family members of the employer and in specific circumstances, to local laborers and non-local minors age 16 or under who are paid on a piece-rate basis.
It’s important for employers to keep and maintain accurate agricultural employee records, including their names, dates of birth and permanent addresses. This includes records for minors and records of employees being paid on a piece-rate basis.
If the employee does not meet the definition an agriculture employee under the FLSA, there can be consequences if the employer does not pay him or her correctly.
In addition to the FLSA, employers, agricultural associations and farm labor contractors may be subject to the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
The requirements under the FLSA are complex, however an experienced attorney can provide advice to workers and ensure they are paid correctly.