Overtime & Minimum Wage for Agricultural Workers
by Samantha Mikolajczyk, Staff Attorney
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is the federal law that sets the requirements for overtime and the minimum wage that all employers must follow. However, agricultural employees are exempt from certain provisions of the FLSA. The FLSA defines agriculture employment as “farming in all its branches and among other things includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities (including commodities defined as agricultural commodities in section 1141j(g) of title 12), the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, and any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.”
As defined in the FLSA, agricultural workers are specifically exempt from overtime pay, meaning they have no right to receive time and one-half of their regular payment when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. As a result, in states where there are no overtime laws or where state overtime laws do not cover agricultural workers, agricultural workers do not have any legal rights to overtime pay. However, some states have implemented their own laws that specifically require overtime pay for agricultural workers. Those statutes, and other state overtime statutory requirements, can be found in the overtime pay for agricultural workers compilations.
In addition to overtime, the FLSA also regulates the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour. While there are still exceptions for agricultural workers, most agricultural workers are subject to the federal minimum wage. States can enact their own laws regarding minimum wage and can require employers to pay more than the federal minimum wage. For states that do not establish their own minimum wage laws, or if agricultural workers are not included in the state minimum wage laws, federal law applies, and agricultural workers still must be paid the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage for agricultural workers compilation includes the minimum wage requirements of each state and agricultural-specific minimum wages. These compilations were last updated in January 2022.
To access the compilation of state laws relating to overtime pay for agricultural workers, click here.
To access the compilation of state laws relating to the minimum wage for agricultural workers, click here.