The Wage and Hour Division: How does it protect you?

Federal Law requires employers to provide all employees a reasonable and fair wage for the hours they work. This law is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, which was created with the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). The Wage and Hour Division enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements. As agricultural workers, you are protected under The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.

The MSPA sets standards for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers regarding wages, and transportation. For migrant farm workers, MSPA also sets standards for housing provided to farm workers. The MSPA requires that employers of migrant agricultural workers register with the Federal government, and notify prospective employees of the wages and working conditions before they are hired. Additionally, MSPA requires that housing provided to farm workers meet minimum standards for health and safety, and that transportation providers have vehicles that meet certain standards for safety. Under Federal law, farm workers have the following rights protected by the MSPA:

Wages:

Your employer must pay you for the hours you worked. In the state of California, you must be paid a minimum of $8.00 per hour.

  • Farm workers must be provided a written statement of earnings and all deductions from pay.
  • Farm workers must be provided written information about their wages and working conditions in a language they can understand.
  • If you are told to arrive to work at a specific time, but the work cannot start until later, make sure you are paid for all hours starting from the time you got to your job site.

It is very important that you keep track of all the hours you have worked. When you get your paycheck, make sure you have been paid for all time worked, and that all the hours you worked have been recorded on your check.

Transportation:

  • Agricultural employers must assure that the vehicles used to transport workers are properly insured, are operated by licensed drivers, and meet federal and state safety standards. Sometimes your crew leaders will charge a fee for transportation. If there is a fee, this amount must be disclosed to you. Also, if the vehicle is unsafe, uninsured, or the driver is unlicensed, you should not pay a transportation fee, and you should report the violations to the Wage and Hour Division.

Safety and Health:

  • Farm workers must be provided safe drinking water, toilets, and hand washing facilities at the job site at no cost.
  • Farm workers must be provided a safe workplace.
  • Migrant farmworkers must be provided with safe housing.

For more information regarding MSPA, the FLSA, minimum wage and The Wage and Hour Division: How does it protect you? Continued from previous page overtime pay, visit the Wage and Hour Division web site: www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call the Wage and Hour Division toll-free help line, available 8a.m. to 5p.m. in your time zone, at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243) Spanish and English options are available.