The Laws Every Agricultural Employer Should Know About

California feeds the nation. Almost half of all the vegetables, fruits, and nuts grown in the country originate in California. To produce reliable harvests every year, agricultural employers in the state rely heavily on their laborers, many of whom are migrant or seasonal workers. Because of this, agricultural employers have unique labor law compliance requirements. It’s challenging to stay abreast of the latest legal developments, which is why savvy farm owners retain the services of a law office that handles employment law matters.

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)

The MSPA establishes mandatory standards regarding housing, transportation, wages, recordkeeping, and disclosures as these matters pertain to migrant and seasonal workers. Additionally, the MSPA requires farm labor contractors to be registered with the federal Department of Labor before they are authorized to transport or provide housing to migrant and seasonal workers. The MSPA requires the following:

  • Wages: Must be paid when due and be accompanied by itemized, written statements of earnings.
  • Housing: Must comply with federal and state health and safety standards.
  • Transportation: Must be insured, meet federal and state safety standards, and be driven by licensed drivers.
  • Disclosure: Potential workers must be provided information about wages, period of employment, and work to be performed.

Field Sanitation Provisions

Field Sanitation Provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was an updated regulation established in 1987. It states the minimum standards of field sanitation. Specifically, agricultural employers are required to provide all field workers with toilets, handwashing facilities, and potable drinking water. Field workers must receive adequate information about hygiene practices. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the potable water must be “ suitably cool and in sufficient amounts.” For every 20 employees, agricultural employers must provide at least one toilet and handwashing facility.

The Law Offices of Jon Webster is well-versed in the unique issues that affect agricultural employers. Farm owners are invited to call our law office in Concord, CA at (925) 609-7600. Our labor law services include proactive measures to prevent future liability.

Categories: Business Law


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