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How does the FLSA impact agricultural employees?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2022 | Wage & Hour Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) oversees issues like minimum wage, recordkeeping, overtime and other forms of labor standards on a federal level.

These standards also apply to people working in agricultural fields. This includes both farming operations and farming.

Exemptions to the FLSA

The Department of Labor takes a look at how the FLSA affects agricultural industries. Employees in these industries must have a certain minimum wage under the FLSA. However, certain exemptions to both minimum wage standards and also overtime pay do exist within these industries.

First, if an employer does not use over 500 “man days” of labor within one calendar quarter, they do not have to provide either of these things. A “man day” requires a laborer to do work for at least one hour.

Immediate family members of the employer, non-local minors under the age of 16, and local laborers may also be paid on a piece-rate basis rather than by minimum wage standards.

Protections for laborers

However, if a laborer does not meet the definition of agricultural employee under FLSA standards and their employer treats them as such anyway, the employer is subject to penalty.

Employers, contractors and other agricultural associates may have additional protection, as well. This protection comes from the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Employment law can be complex and tricky, and the FLSA is not always straightforward. However, through proper interpretation of the law, it is possible for at-risk employees to find the legal protections that they need to stay safe on the job and make the money they deserve.