Wages for agricultural jobs

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  • Expand/collapse Are agricultural workers entitled to minimum wage?
  • Yes, agricultural workers must be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. The current minimum wage is $12 per hour for those 16 years of age and older. Businesses may pay on a piece rate basis or salary basis, but that rate must be equivalent to the minimum wage. The business must keep track of actual hours worked as well as the piece rate units or salary payment and if the piece rate or salary payment does not equal minimum wage in each work week, the employer must pay the difference.

    Minor workers under the age of 16 may be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage or $10.20 for 2019.

  • Expand/collapse Are there any exceptions to payment of minimum wage for agricultural workers?
  • Yes. Minimum wage does not apply for any individual if all the following requirements are met:

    • The individual is employed as a hand-harvest laborer; and
    • The individual is paid on a piece rate basis in an operation where such payment is customary; and
    • The individual is a permanent resident and commutes daily from his or her own residence to the farm; and
    • The individual has been employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks in the preceding calendar year.

    For example, someone (an adult or minor) who works less than 13 weeks per year harvesting berries during berry season, but does not normally work in an agricultural job at any other time, does not have to be paid minimum wage. Migrant farmworkers are not exempt.

  • Expand/collapse Are agricultural workers entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week?
  • No, overtime pay is not required when workers work more than 40 hours per week.

For more details, see L&I admininistrative policy:
Adobe PDF file Minimum Wage Act (ES.A.1) (150 KB PDF)

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