Farmworkers and H-2A workers do not usually get overtime pay. But if you pack fruit from other farms, make apple cider, or make pies, you may be owed overtime pay. Overtime is a special pay rate also known as “time and a half.” This is for the time you work over 40 hours in a week.
Here is an example:
In 2016 you are paid $11.74 per hour. Let us say you work 41 hours in 1 week. After you work 40 hours, every hour after 40 hours you get paid $17.61 ($11.74 x 1 ½).
40 hours x $11.74 = $469.60 (Regular Pay)
1 hr x $17.61 = 17.61 (Overtime Pay Rate)
$469.60 + $17.61 = $487.21 (Total Pay with Overtime)
Some employers do not believe that they have to give you overtime pay. Some workers have to fight for this right. If you have questions about overtime pay, please contact our offices.
Unfortunately, there is no federal law that says your boss must give you a break during your workday on a farm. However, most bosses realize that workers are more productive when they are given time to rest. Many workers rest around noon for lunch.
The federal wage law says that if you take less than 20 minutes to eat, you should be paid for that time. If your lunch break is 30 minutes or longer, however, that time is not counted as work time.
If you have questions, please call the legal services office in your state.
Even when paid by the piece, workers should still earn the promised hourly wage rate. To see if you are being paid correctly, multiply your hourly pay by the number of hours you worked during one week. For example, if you worked 54 hours in a week and your hourly pay is $11.74 per hour, your gross pay (total pay before deductions) should be at least $633.96. Here’s the math: $11.74 times 54 is $633.96.
Next, if you are paid by the bin, the box or the bushel, compare your earnings to the above amount. The important thing to remember is that the total paycheck based on your piece rate for the week should be equal or more than the total of your hours multiplied hourly wage for the week. You always measure the difference on a weekly basis.
For example, let’s say you work at a farm that pays by the bin. Let’s also say that youfilled 32 bins and the piece rate is $15.00 per bin. Your gross pay (before deductions) would be $480.00 (32 bins times $15). But, remember that you worked for 54 hours and $480is LESS than the guaranteed minimum of $633.96. Your boss would need to pay you the difference of $153.96 ($633.96 minus $480.00 is $153.96). This extra amount should be included in your pay for the week.
Your pay receipt or stub should show how many hours you worked and how many pieces you completed. It should also tell you how many hours were offered to you, and should list everything that is deducted from your gross pay. Your paycheck should have your name on it and the name and address of your employer. Each week check your pay receipt to make sure you are getting paid properly.
WHAT COUNTS AS “WORK TIME”?
Time that you should be paid for, called compensable work time, includes:
- Waiting time: Some of the time that you spend waiting at the worksite is time that you should be paid for. Some examples are waiting for your work assignment; waiting for fields to dry; or waiting for ladders, bins, or other equipment to arrive.
- Travel time: After your workday begins, the time you spend traveling from one field to another is work time that you should be paid for.
- Breaks: A short morning, afternoon, or meal break that is under 20 minutes counts as work time.
Time that you do not have to be paid for, called non-compensable time, includes:
- Time spent traveling between the labor camp and the worksite in the morning before work and in the evening after work.
- Lunch breaks that are 30 minutes or longer, in which you are allowed to completely stop working.
Use these guidelines to keep a daily record of your work hours.
FIGURE OUT IF YOU EARNED THE 3/4 GUARANTEE!
Your boss must offer work to you for at least three quarters (75%) of all the hours promised in your contract. It is counted from the first work-day after you arrive until the end date listed in your contract. If you are not offered these hours, your boss must make a payment to you at the end of the contract.
For example, let’s say you arrive on September 3 and your contract ends on October 13, 6 weeks, and your contract offers 40 hours of work per week. That is 240 total hours (which is 6 weeks times 40 hours per week). Under the 3/4 guarantee, at the end of the contract, your boss must have offered you work for at least 180 hours (which is 3/4 of 240 hours). You will not know if you have been paid the 3/4 guarantee until your contract ends. So, at the end of the season, if your boss had only offered you 160 hours of work, then he would have to pay you for 20 more hours.
There are times when this guarantee does not apply. Your boss will not owe you money if you are fired for a good reason, if you quit, if the contract is cut short because of a natural disaster, or if you are unable to finish the contract because you got hurt. But if you are sent home early or there is no work for you for some other reason, the 3/4 guarantee may protect you. If you want our help, please save all your pay receipts and call us at the end of the season.