The Fair Labor Standards Act provides some very important protections for most farm workers. The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 and you must be paid at least $7.25 per hour. Even if you are paid on a piece rate basis, your hourly wages each week must be at least $7.25 per hour or your state’s minimum wage. In many New England states the minimum wage is higher. In Maine, the state minimum wage is $7.50 per hour. In New York, state minimum wage is $9.00 per hour. In Rhode Island, Connecticut & Vermont, state minimum wage is $9.60 per hour. In Massachusetts, state minimum wage is $10.00 per hour. Many states will raise minimum wage in 2017.
You must be paid for all hours worked, including waiting time, and sometimes travel time. For example, if you have to wait for boxes, bins, equipment, or similar things in order to start working, you should be paid for that time. If you move from one field to the next during the day, you must be paid for that travel time. Also, if your lunch break is less than 30 minutes, you must be paid for it. Keep a record of all your hours to make sure you are paid correctly.
Overtime is time and ½ pay for hours over 40 in a week. Most farmworkers are not entitled to overtime pay. However, if you are planting trees or cutting brush you may be entitled to overtime pay. Also some packing and nursery jobs are entitled to overtime pay. If you have any questions or problems, please call one of our offices.
For more information about wages and H2A workers, visit H-2A Contract: Wage Issues.