The current wage rate (as of Jan 2014) for farms using H-2A labor is $10.00/hour. For farms that are not using H-2A guest workers, the rate is the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Farmworkers in Georgia are entitled to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for each hour they work. If you were promised more, you should be paid what you were guaranteed.
If you are paid by the piece (bucket, truckload, number of feet planted, etc), you should still earn at least as much you would earn if you had been paid by your hourly wage rate. Your employer should pay you the higher of the minimum wage or your piece rate earnings.
Mike was paid .38 cents a bucket for picking onions. Last week he worked 45 hours. He picked 700 buckets of onion. Mike works for a crewleader who must pay his workers the federal minimum wage. Joe was paid for all his buckets of onions and earned $266.00 (700 buckets x $.38 = $266.00) for the week. However, Joe should have received $326.25 (45 hours x $7.25= $326.25).
On the other hand, Mike’s coworker, Jon, picked 900 buckets of onions last week and also worked 45 hours. Jon earned $342.00 (900 buckets x $.38 = $342.00), more than the federal minimum wage of $326.25 for 45 hours (45 x $7.25=$326.25). Jon should receive $342.00.
Most farmworkers are not covered by overtime. However for certain jobs, you may be entitled to be paid time-and-a-half for all hours in excess of 40 or 48 per seven day pay period. These jobs include:
- Working in a packing shed that packs produce from farmers who do not own the packing shed. Over time is owed for each hour worked over 40 hours in a certain pay period.
- Working in a cotton gin for all hours worked over 48 in one week or working over 10 hours in one day.
Payment for All Your Hours:
You must be paid for all the time you work in a given day. It is important to understand that this time does not mean just the time you spend physically working.
- If you work in one field and must move to another field, your work time includes the time spent travelling from one field to another.
- If equipment breaks down and you have to wait to do your work, your work time includes the time you have to wait.
- If you for more boxes or bins to arrive, your work time includes the time you have to wait.
- If you have to wait around for counting tokens at the end of the days, your work time includes this time you have to wait.