Farmers have lives that are often very different from those of people in other professions. Whether you work with livestock or crops, you probably keep long hours throughout the day. The seasons bring different job responsibilities, but you probably never get to take more than a day or two off at once. You likely live where you work and may not directly even own your home.
You may also occasionally need to hire outside help, possibly only for a few days or weeks at a time. Farms often have sudden spikes in demand and require a lot of manual labor to plant and harvest everything.
Hiring in the agricultural sector is much different than employment in other parts of the economy. There are different rules and laws that apply to farm owners than other employers. You need to have a strong, working understanding of what employment laws apply to you in order to protect your farm.
Farms are exempt from many common employment requirements
Given the unique nature of agricultural work, there are unusual rules that govern this industry for employment. Farmers may need to take in a huge amount of crops or plant entire fields in a short amount of time.
The delayed pay for crops can make overtime pay a burden. As such, farmers often don’t have to offer overtime wages. Farmers can also employ children under the age of 16 to do certain work on the farm. Farmers can employ both their own minor children and potentially the children of their seasonal workers.
Farmers don’t always have to provide workers’ compensation, either
Depending on who works at an agricultural operation, the owner may not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Provided that they only hire their own immediate family members or other farmers with whom they have some kind of work-exchange arrangement, farmers don’t necessarily have to pay for insurance.
Still, agricultural employers are subject to a lot of restrictions. They have a requirement to cover workers for injuries in many scenarios. Farmers also need to meet certain workplace safety requirements. Reviewing your obligations, exemptions and rights as a farmer who employs others can help you avoid mistakes and minimize unnecessary expenses for your agricultural operation.