The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates wages and overtime policies to protect employee rights.
The FLSA established the “time and a half” rule of overtime, which requires employers to compensate for overtime hours (any time over 40 hours in a week) at a rate of 1.5 times their typical hourly wage.
Employers in certain fields of work are exempt from some of the regulations established in the FLSA. One exemption includes the agricultural industry. Agricultural workers are not entitled to overtime pay rules, and therefore do not get paid time and a half if they work more than 40 hours in one week.
There are additional exemptions if an agricultural worker:
- Is employed by an immediate family member (e.g. a parent, sibling, or spouse)
- Mainly works in the livestock industry
- Is under the age of 16
Why Are Farmers Exempt from Overtime Regulations?
There are several theories for exempting agricultural workers from the right to overtime pay. The nature of farm work is one reason that is often cited — work hours rely on the weather, growth season, and other uncontrollable factors that exclude farmers from a standard schedule. Supporters of the exemptions say paying overtime would significantly increase food prices.
Those who oppose overtime exemptions specify the long hours many farm employees work, sometimes in adverse conditions, and often without days off.
Non-Agricultural Workers Who Are Exempt from Overtime Pay
The Fair Labor Standards Act excludes some other employers from paying a time and a half wage for overtime hours, in addition to farmers.
Other industries, besides agriculture, that are exempt from FLSA overtime regulations include:
- Employees that are paid on a commission basis
- Vehicle salespeople
- Movie theater employees
- Transportation workers
- New station employees
- Domestic workers who live with their employer