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By Danny Kushmer | June 2016

Are you in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

The Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime rules require you to pay one-and-a-half times the employee’s hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 in any workweek, unless the employee performs work that’s considered exempt from overtime (see below).

  • Agricultural employees who are immediate family members of their employer
  • Those principally engaged on the range in the production of livestock
  • Local hand harvest laborers who commute daily from their permanent residence, are paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, and were engaged in agriculture less than thirteen weeks during the preceding calendar year
  • Non-local minors, 16 years of age or under, who are hand harvesters, paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, employed on the same farm as their parent, and paid the same piece rate as those over 16

Typically, growers get into trouble by not keeping and maintaining records, resulting in failing to pay overtime to employees who do not meet the definition of agriculture contained in the Act.

Red tractor in field

Employers must carefully determine whether each worker is an employee and, if so, whether they’re exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Incorrectly classifying a worker as an independent contractor when they’re really an employee may lead to liability for failure to pay for hours worked. Incorrectly classifying a non-exempt worker as exempt employee under the FLSA creates the risk of failure to pay overtime. The employer is vulnerable to claims for failure to pay for all hours worked.

Be familiar with the rules concerning agricultural employees and ensure your records are up-to-date.


For additional Information, visit the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division Website and/or call their toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866- 4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Click here to download Fact Sheet #12: Agricultural Employers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).