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Agricultural employment

Discrimination laws

Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discriminatory employment practices affecting every aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, compensation, and termination of employment. Agricultural employers will want to be aware of federal rules regarding employment practices. Learn about the various types of discrimination prohibited by law: 

  • Age 
  • Disability 
  • Equal pay and compensation 
  • National origin 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Race/color 
  • Religion 
  • Retaliation for opposing unlawful employment practices 
  • Sex 
  • Sexual harassment 

Technical assistance

Web    e​eoc.gov/laws


Web www1.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications

Prohibited Employment Policies and Practices
Web www1.eeoc.​gov/laws/practices

Discriminatio​n Laws Related to Employment
W​eb www1.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes


US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Office Building
909 First Ave, suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104-1061
Phone 1-800-669-4000
Fax 206-220-6911
TTY 1-800-669-6820


Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)
800 NE Oregon St, suite 1045
Portland 97232
Phone 971-673-0764
Fax 971-673-0765
Web oregon.gov/boli/CRD/pages/c_crprotoc.aspx

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Employing minors

Who must comply? 

All employers who employ minors, excepting children of farm owner/operators. 

Permits and licenses 

Farm operators are not required to obtain validated employment certificates from the Bureau of Labor and Industries to employ minors in agriculture unless the minor will be operating, assisting in operating, or riding in or on power-driven machinery. 


Growers must keep the following records when employing minors: 

  • Name of minor 
  • Address of the minor while employed and permanent address if different 
  • Date of birth of minor 
  • Any written parental consent required 
  • Any certificates of completion of training for operation of power-driven farm machinery 


You must carry workers’ compensation insurance for all workers who receive any remuneration, including wages, room and board, or other benefits. 

Contact the Workers’ Compensation Department for more information regarding workers’ compensation. 

350 Winter St NE
PO Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309-0405 
Phone 503-947-7814 
Toll-free 1-800-452-0288 
Email workcomp.questions@state.or.us 

Note: See the section on “Workers’ Compensation” in this handbook. 

Safety training

Workers must be properly instructed and supervised in the safe operation of any machinery, tools, equipment, process, or practice they are authorized to use or apply.

Operating or riding on machinery

Minors employed by a parent or person standing in place of a parent (sibling, uncle, aunt, or grandparent) do not need an employment certificate or certificate of training to operate or ride on farm machinery.

Other minors 14-17 years old may operate power-driven farm machinery ONLY if they have passed and received a certificate of training in a 4-H or vocational agricultural safety program, copies of which the farmer must keep on record for two years. For a list of organizations and locations across Oregon that offer farm/tractor safety training courses, please visit the ODA tractor training web page.

Web oregon.gov/ODA/Pages/tractor_training.aspx

If a 4-H Extension Service or vocational agricultural safety training program is not available within 35 miles of the minor’s residence, a 16- or 17-year-old minor may be employed to operate or assist in the operation of power-driven farm machinery otherwise prohibited if the minor, the minor’s parent or guardian, and the employer sign the statement on Form WH-214-4 certifying to the following:

  • The training is not available within 35 miles of the minor’s residence.
  • The employer has provided the minor with not less than eight hours of instruction, four hours of which must be ‘hands-on’ training under the supervision of a trained adult relating to the safe and proper operation of specific equipment.
  • The employer agrees to supervise the minor continuously and closely while the minor operates the power-driven farm machinery.

A minor 14-17 years old may be employed to ride in or on power-driven farm machinery if the minor has obtained a certificate of training as described above or the following conditions are met:

  • The employer has provided the minor with not less than two hours of safety training related to the specific machinery, which the minor will be employed to ride in or on before the minor begins work.
  • The employer agrees to continuously and closely supervise the minor while riding in or on the machinery.

Prohibited jobs

It is illegal for a minor under the age of 16 to perform any of the following jobs (exception for machinery operation as noted above, and children of farm owner/operators):

  • Operating power-driven machinery without certification
  • Working in an area occupied by a bull, boar, sow with suckling pigs, cow with newborn calf, or stud horse
  • Felling, bucking, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with butt diameter of six inches or greater
  • Working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet
  • Driving a bus, truck, or automobile, or ride on a tractor as a passenger or helper
  • Working inside certain fruit, storage, manure pits, or silos
  • Handling or applying certain agricultural chemicals
  • Transferring, transporting, or applying anhydrous ammonia
  • Handling or using a blasting agent such as dynamite, black powder, blasting caps, primer cord, etc.
  • Working in feed mills, flour mills, grain warehouses, or any workplace where power-driven machinery is used


Special rules pertaining to meal periods apply to minors. Contact the Bureau of Labor and Industries for more information.

In addition, minors must receive a 15-minute break with pay for every four hours worked.

Hours limitations by age

Minors age 16 and above may work, at any time, in jobs not declared hazardous (refer to the website or call US Department of Labor for more information).

Web dol.gov/whd/

Minors under 16 may not work more than 10 hours a day, six days a week during the summertime. Hours worked may be restricted if operating power-driven farm machinery. Contact the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries for clarification of the specific work situation and hours allowed.

Minors ages 14 and 15 may work outside of school hours in jobs not declared hazardous. 

Minors aged 12 and 13 may be employed outside of school hours, with written parental consent or on a farm where the minor’s parents or guardians are employed, in jobs not declared hazardous. 

Minors aged 9 to 11 can pick berries and beans outside school hours with parental consent and only if the produce is sold within the state or the farm has used less than 500 man-days of labor in all calendar quarters of the preceding year. Local minors ages 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than eight weeks between June 1 and October 15 if the employer has obtained special waivers from the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, 503-326-3057.

Hours limitations when school is in session

Minors under age 16 may not work while school is in session. A maximum of three hours per day may be worked outside of school (before or after school); 10 hours per day maximum on non-school days; and a maximum of 25 hours per week during school weeks. During summer months or other school vacation periods of one week or more, a maximum of 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week may be worked unless a special permit is first obtained from the Wage and Hour Division of BOLI.

Minors under age 16 employed to operate, assist in the operation of, or ride in or on power-driven farm machinery may work a maximum of eight hours per day on non-school days and 18 hours per week during school weeks. During the summer months, a maximum of 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week may be worked. Outside of harvest season (summer months) a maximum of 44 hours per week is allowed without an emergency overtime permit.

There is no restriction on starting and quitting times for minors employed in agriculture, so long as the minor does not work when school is in session and does not exceed the hour limitations.

Web oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/CLU

Technical assistance

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries provides technical assistance and information to employers about minors, wages and hours, and civil rights questions. All inquiries are handled confidentially.

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)
800 NE Oregon St, Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Phone 971-673-0824
TTY 800-735-2900
Web oregon.gov/BOLI
Wage and Hour Division​
Phone 971-673-0761

US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St, Room 423
Portland, OR 97205
Phone 503-326-3057
Fax 503-326-5951
Web dol.gov/whd/​

Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services
Workers’ Compensation Division
350 Winter St NE
PO Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309-0405
Phone 503-947-7814
Toll-free 1-800-452-0288
Email workcomp.questions@state.or.us


  • Child Labor Requirements in Agriculture Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Child Labor Bulletin No. 102
  • A Message to Young Workers About the Fair Labor Standards Act, as Amended in 1974, WH Publication 1236, 1976
  • Occupations in Agriculture Particularly Hazardous for the Employment of Children Below the Age of 16, WH Publication 1283, December 1972
  • Young Farm Workers and the Fair Labor Standards Act, WH Publication 1338, May 1971
  • FLSA—Child Labor Rules Advisor
    Web dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/cl


Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services
Workers’ Compensation Division
350 Winter St NE
PO Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309-0405
Phone 503-947-7814
Toll-free 1-800-452-0288
Email workcomp.questions@state.or.us​

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Employment eligibility verification

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Immigration Act of 1990 placed the burden of employment eligibility verification upon US employers and provided for employer sanctions for hiring undocumented or illegal immigrants. It is unlawful for any entity to hire, recruit, or refer for a fee, any individual for employment in the US without complying with the employment eligibility verification requirements.

Employers must do the following:

  • Ensure that all employees fill out section 1 of the Form I-9 at the time of hire.
  • Review documents establishing employee’s identity and eligibility to work, and complete section 2 of the Form I-9 within three business days.
  • Retain the Form I-9 for three years after the date the person begins work, or one year after the person’s employment is terminated, whichever is later.
  • Make the Form I-9 available for inspection to an officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the US Department of Labor (DOL), or the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
  • Not prompt an employee to present a particular document from the I-9 list(s), or require more documents than are required by law. All employees must be treated the same when completing the Form I-9.

Technical assistance

The Handbook for Employers (Form M-274)
Phone 888-464-4318
Email e-verify@dhs.gov
Web uscis.gov​
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Fair employment practices

Who must comply?

All Oregon employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations.



An employer is any person who directly or through an agent, engages or uses the personal service of one or more employees reserving the right to control how the service is performed.

Employment agency

Any person who procures employees or opportunities to work.

Labor organization

Any organization constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms and conditions of employment.


Employers must do the following:

  • Refrain from any discriminatory unlawful employment practices based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, familial status or marital status, such as:
    • Discharge or failure or refusal to hire
    • Discrimination on compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment
    • Limiting, segregating, or classifying employees or applicants for employment
    • Discrimination in apprenticeship or training programs
    • Printing, or causing to be printed or published, any notice of employment that specifies a discriminatory preference
    • Discrimination against anyone who opposes discriminatory practices or assists, testifies or participates in any discrimination investigation
    • Discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing
  • Not require as a condition of employment or continuation of employment that an employee take a breathalyzer or lie detector test. Breathalyzer tests may be administered only if the employer has reasonable grounds to believe the employee is under the influence of alcohol or the employee consents to such testing.
  • Not subject, directly or indirectly, an employee or prospective employee to any polygraph examination, psychological stress test, genetic screening, or brain wave test.
  • Not blacklist employees discharged by the employer with intent of preventing the employee from engaging or securing similar or other employment.

State laws prohibit discrimination based on age if the person is over 18. This is broader protection than offered by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Additionally, many municipalities have passed other antidiscrimination laws (regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income, etc.).

Technical assistance 

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)
800 NE Oregon St, Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Phone 971-673-0824
TTY 800-735-2900
Web oregon.gov/BOLI​

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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA minimum wage): Federal law

Refer to the following sources for information regarding:

  • Who must comply?
  • Agricultural labor regulations
  • Wages and hours
  • Record keeping
  • Paycheck deductions

Technical assistance:

US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St, Room 423
Portland, OR 97205
Phone 503-326-3057
Fax 503-326-5951

Web dol.gov/whd/​ 

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)

Wage and Hours Division
800 NE Oregon St, Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Phone 971-673-0825
TTY 800-735-2900

Web oregon.gov/BOLI 

BOLI Eugene Office
1400 Executive Parkway, suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone 541-686-7623

BOLI Salem Office
3865 Wolverine St NE
Building E-1
Salem, OR 97305
Phone 503-378-3292

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Family and Medical Leave Act: Federal

Refer to the following sources for information regarding:

  • Who must comply?
  • Eligible employees
  • Compliance
  • Foreseeable leave
  • Certification
  • Failure to return from leave

Technical assistance

US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
620 SW Main St, Room 423 
Portland, OR 97205 
Phone 503-326-3057 
Fax 503-326-5951 
Web dol.gov/whd/​

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Family and Medical Leave Act: Oregon

Who must comply?

All businesses that employ 25 or more employees in Oregon during each working day of 20 or more calendar work weeks, either in the calendar year in which the leave is taken or in the preceding calendar year.

Eligible employees

Workers must be employed at least 180 days in order to take leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child.

For all other leave benefits, workers must be employed at least 180 days and also work at least an average of 25 hours a week.


An employer must do the following:

  • Grant an employee’s request for family leave for up to 12 weeks within a one year period to care for
    • A family member with a serious health condition
    • The employee’s own serious health condition
    • A newborn or newly adopted or newly placed foster child
    • A sick child who requires home care
  • Not fire or discipline an employee or in any way retaliate against an employee for taking family leave
  • Restore the worker to the same position held by the employee regardless of whether the job has been reclassified or renamed-even if the employer hired someone else to fill in-without loss of seniority, service credits under a pension plan, or any other benefit or right that had been earned at a time before the leave started
  • Restore the employee to an available position that is the same as the former job in as many aspects as possible, if the employee’s former position has been eliminated

Note: When a serious health condition is unanticipated, a verbal request, confirmed in writing to the employer within three days after the employee’s return to work, could serve as a written request.

An employer is not required to discharge another employee to reinstate the employee who took leave.

An employee must do the following:

  • Make a reasonable effort to schedule medical treatment so as to minimize disruption of the employer’s operations
  • Give the employer 30 days notice before taking leave when the serious health condition is anticipated


Serious health condition

  • An injury, disease, or condition that is chronic and/or requires inpatient or constant care
  • A condition in which death is imminent or probable in the near future
  • A condition that involves a period of incapacity or treatment for a condition where the employee is unable to perform at least one essential job function for more than three calendar days
  • A condition involving two or more treatments by a health care provider or continuing care
  • A period of disability due to pregnancy or childbirth or prenatal care

Family member

Includes employee, employee’s spouse, same sex domestic partner, parents, parents-in-law, children, grandparents, and grandchildren.

Technical assistance 

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)
800 NE Oregon St, Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Phone 971-673-0824
TTY 800-735-2900

Web oregon.gov/BOLI

The ​bureau’s Technical Assistance for Employers Program handles all employer requests for information confidentially. Employers with questions concerning Oregon Family Leave should call 971-673-0824, in Portland.

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Farm labor contracting

Refer to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office for information regarding the following:

  • Who must comply?
  • Registration with the state of Oregon
  • Registration with the US Department of Labor
  • Certification fees
  • Business registration
  • Oregon application process
  • Federal application process

Technical assistance

Secretary of State
Corporation Division
Public Service Building
255 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97310
Phone 503-986-2200
Web sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/default.aspx​

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Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

Refer to the US Department of Labor for information regarding the following:

  • Who must comply?
  • Conditions of employment
  • Posting
  • Wages and payroll
  • Motor vehicle safety
  • Exclusions to vehicle safety standards
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Housing safety and health
  • Hiring farm labor contractors
  • Joint employment
  • Discrimination

Technical assistance

US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division 
620 SW Main St, Room 423 
Portland, OR 97205 
Phone 503-326-3057 
Web dol.gov/whd/​

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Minimum wage: Oregon law

Who must comply?

Agricultural employers must pay their non-exempt employees for each hour worked at least the minimum wage rate in effect at the time the work is performed. The minimum wage rate is adjusted annually for inflation. To obtain the current minimum wage poster, please visit the BOLI website.

Web oregon.gov/BOLI


The following categories of employees are not included in the state coverage:

  • Members of the employer’s immediate family
  • Hand harvest or pruning workers who are paid at piece-rate, in a job that is traditionally paid by piece-rate in the area, who commute daily from their permanent residence to the farm on which they are employed, and have been employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks in the preceding calendar year
  • Hand harvest workers who are paid at piece-rate in a job that is traditionally paid by piece-rate in the area, who are 16 years of age or under and paid the same piece-rate as workers over 16 years of age
  • Workers mainly engaged in the range production of livestock (but only if they are being paid a salary that is equivalent to 40 times the minimum wage per week)
  • Hand harvest and pruning workers who are paid at a piece-rate, in a job that is traditionally paid by piece-rate in the area, who work on farms which used less than 500 worker-days of piece-rate labor in every calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year (piece-rate work-day means any day when an employee, other than an immediate family member, does any hand harvest or pruning labor on a piece-rate basis for at least one hour)


While the Oregon law provides for overtime pay calculated at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for a work week longer than 40 hours, this provision specifically excludes most agricultural employees. Oregon cannery, drier, and packing workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay after ten hours per day, unless the cannery, drier, or packing plant is located on a farm and is primarily processing products produced on that farm.

Agricultural employers who are not subject to daily overtime payments under Oregon law (ORS 653.265) may still be obligated to pay weekly overtime under both state and federal law. For example, if a farmer processes or handles ANY AMOUNT of another farmer’s crop, the employee would no longer be an “agricultural employee” and would be entitled to overtime after 40 hours. We encourage you to seek independent legal advice regarding your overtime obligations.


Every employer required to pay minimum wage shall make and keep for two years, a record containing name, address, occupation of each employee, and actual hours worked each workday and total hours worked each workweek by each employee.

Rest and meal periods

Oregon agricultural employers must provide employees with at least a 30-minute unpaid meal period when the work period is six hours or greater. The law requires an uninterrupted period in which the employee is relieved of all duties. No meal period is required if the work period is less than six hours. Employers must also provide workers with a paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest break for every four-hour segment or major portion thereof in the work period. OAR 839-020-0050(1)(b).

Web oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/Pages/T_FAQ_Taagricrestmeals.aspx

Deductions from paycheck

No employer may withhold, deduct, or divert any portion of an employee’s wages unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • Required to do so by law (i.e., withholding tax, garnishment)
  • Deductions are authorized in writing by the employee, are for employee’s benefit, and are recorded in employer’s books
  • The employee voluntarily signs an authorization for deduction for any other item provided the ultimate recipient of the money is not the employer, and the deduction is recorded in employer’s books
  • Authorized by a collective bargaining agreement

Employers must also provide each employee with an itemized statement of amounts and purposes of deductions.

Posting requirements

All agricultural employers must post the BOLI State Minimum Wage Poster (see the section on “Employee Health and Safety” in this handbook for more information). Every producer who employs a labor contractor for harvest of perishable agricultural commodities or who offers a bonus to those who harvest such produce must conspicuously post a notice stating the following:

  • Terms and conditions of any bonus offered and the manner of determining if one is earned
  • That portion of the labor contractor’s compensation that is based on the amount of work done by each employee of the contractor

Timely payment of wages

Every employer shall establish and maintain regular paydays at which date all employees shall be paid the wages due and owing to them. Paydays must not extend beyond a period of 35 days from the time employees began work or from the date of the last regular payday.

Seasonal farm workers are entitled to be paid in full for all wages due and owing immediately upon termination of employment.

Final wages of seasonal farmworker may be paid by noon on the day after termination provided (1) the termination occurs at the end of the harvest season; (2) the employer is a farmworker camp operator described in ORS 658.715(1)(b) or (c); and (3) the farmworker is provided housing that complies with ORS 658.705 to 658.850 at no cost to the worker from the termination of work until wages due are paid.

Seasonal farm workers who quit without giving an employer 48 hours notice must be paid in full within 48 hours or the next scheduled payday, whichever is sooner. If a worker fails to return for payment, an employer should mail payment to the employee’s last known address.

Technical assistance

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)
Wage and Hour Division
800 NE Oregon St, Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Phone 971-673-0761
Fax 503-326-5951
Email whdscreener/boli.state.or.us
Web oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD​

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Recruiting workers using Worksource Oregon

Who can use WorkSource Oregon Employment Department (WSOED) services?

Any employer in Oregon can list job openings for recruiting workers (including for agricultural workers) and use a range of other workforce services at no charge.

What can WorkSource Oregon Employment Department do?

The agency provides labor recruitment and referral services for Oregon businesses, identifying qualified job seekers from among the 400,000+ Oregonians who are actively seeking work and registered for job seeker services.

Employers can list jobs by calling their local WSOED office, going online to iMatchSkills®, or faxing the information to their local office. A job listing will state the skills, experience, and educational requirements, if any, that the employer is seeking. It will also include the duties, pay, and other key information of the job.

Web oregon.gov/employ/Pages/imatchskills_landing.aspx

Staff members review listings for legal sufficiency. A listing in the computer system is typically matched against registered job seekers and, as needed, made available for job seekers to see for potential referral. Job listings are also accessible in all WSOED offices throughout the state on the agency’s website at and on the award-winning job matching site iMatchSkills®.

Web WorkingInOregon.org (English)
Web EmpleoEnOregon.org​ (Spanish)

By publicizing listings in both English and Spanish, a wider range of job seekers can learn about available work opportunities. Special outreach efforts can also publicize seasonal agricultural jobs locally, throughout Oregon and outside of Oregon. WSOED labor exchange and job finding services are at no charge to employers and job seekers.

Seasonal agricultural work

Recruiting within commuting distance of the job

To use agency services for recruiting workers living within commuting distance of the job, an employer can offer the wage and terms and conditions of employment of his/her choosing, subject to state and federal wage and hour law. The WSOED office closest to the work will take the information for a job listing and can begin recruitment immediately.

Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS): Recruiting domestic workers beyond commuting distance of the job

An employer can use the agency’s services for recruiting seasonal agricultural workers from beyond the local area of the job under the Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS). This can mean recruiting and referring workers from around Oregon (ARS intrastate job listing) or from other states in cooperation with their workforce agencies (ARS interstate job listing). Employers using the ARS are required by federal law to offer wages, benefits, and working conditions, which at least meet the prevailing wages, benefits, and practices for that occupation in the local area, as determined by WSOED employer surveys. The job also must provide no-cost or public housing for hired workers whose permanent residence is beyond regular commuting distance of the job. Housing must meet applicable federal and state standards and have passed a recent housing inspection before ARS out of area recruitment can begin. WSOED local office staff or the ARS coordinator at 503-947-1659 can provide information and guidance to interested employers.

H-2A Program: Seeking permission to hire foreign workers

If an employer is concerned that sufficient domestic workers may not be available or recruited on time through the ARS process, the employer, as an alternative, can ask for recruitment help through the H-2A program. This US Department of Labor program is administered in partnership with WSOED and other states’ workforce agencies. It provides the option of hiring foreign workers for seasonal agricultural work if the employer and state workforce agencies cannot find sufficient domestic workers for the job. The terms and conditions of the job, the benefits offered to all workers in the job, the recruitment process for domestic workers and the oversight process, however, must meet requirements beyond those of ARS job listings. Information on H-2A program requirements is available from the WSOED H-2A coordinator at 503‑947‑1659.

An authorized agent may apply for recruitment assistance through the ARS or H-2A program on behalf of an employer. If an employer uses an authorized agent the employer should make sure the agent has the proper federal and state registration certificate(s) and can legally do business in Oregon.

Note: See the sections on “Farm Labor Contracting” and “Agricultural Labor Housing” in this handbook.

Time constraints

The more time before labor is needed that an employer contacts WSOED, the better the opportunity the workforce system has to recruit workers locally, elsewhere in Oregon, or with partner agencies in other states to meet the labor need. For ARS recruitment efforts to recruit workers in other states, eight weeks advance notice to WSOED before the date of need is encouraged. If that can’t be done, give as much notice as possible. For the H-2A program, the application must be filed at least 60 days and no more than 75 days prior to the intended start of work. The terms and conditions of the job must be approved and domestic worker recruitment must occur to assess the need for foreign workers.

Any agricultural employer using the Employment Department to recruit seasonal agricultural workers under local, ARS, or H-2A job listings must also comply with the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. An employer may be an individual, association, partnership, or corporation.

Note: See the section on Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act for more information.

Year-round agricultural work

For year-round agricultural jobs, the agency will be able to match job requirements against job seekers and refer interested workers from throughout the state for consideration. Workers could also self-screen themselves and apply directly to the employer if the job listing is for a year-round job, using the “self-refer” listing option. Besides being displayed in English and Spanish on the department’s websites, year round agricultural positions can also be displayed at JobCentral for wider recruitment.

Web jobcentral.com

Other department and workforce services for employers

The Employment Department’s workforce and economic research website includes information on Oregon’s current economic trends, 10-year industry and occupational forecasts, wages, education and training requirements, and more. Information is available for Oregon statewide and for the state’s counties and regions. The site includes data and analysis relating to Oregon’s agricultural industry.

Web QualityInfo.org

Oregon Employer Council is a 35 year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging business leaders to have influence on the workforce system. Business members learn about services provided by the Oregon Employment Department and many other workforce partners and comment on how these services are delivered to employers. 

There are 21 local chapters throughout the state that produce high-quality low-cost seminars on human resource and employment law topics. Some councils produce job fairs and offer scholarships. In many communities OEC offers a veterans outreach program. OEC maintains a free lending library for members.

Phone 503-947-1305
Web oec.org

The agency also operates the state’s Unemployment Insurance Program. An Employer Handbook describes an employer’s rights and responsibilities and options for action when a former employee files a claim for unemployment benefits. The handbook is available online or from any local Employment Department office, at no cost.

Web oregon.gov/EMPLOY/TAX/docs/edpub117.pdf

Unemployment insurance claims involving your employer account are now handled through the Employment Department’s three regional Unemployment Insurance Centers rather than at local offices. Please direct all questions about the unemployment insurance claims process or claims involving your employer account to UI staff at the regional center for your area.

Web findit.emp.state.or.us/ocs/ui-center-lookup

Other information about the Unemployment Insurance claims process is also available online. The local Employment Department offices no longer provide information about the Unemployment Insurance claims process or the status of individual claims.

Web oregon.gov/EMPLOY/UI

Note: For information on paying and reporting employee wages, refer to the “Unemployment Tax” section in this handbook or WorkingInOregon.org.

Agricultural employers can locate programs that provide child care for migrant and seasonal farmworker families by calling the Child Care Division at 503-947-1421. To learn about Oregon’s employer child care tax credits, available when an employer helps employees with their child care needs, call the Oregon Child Care Resource and Referral Network at 800-342-6712.

Web childcareinoregon.org

Select “Child Care Tax Credits.”

Partners in the WorkSource Oregon system with the Employment Department offer a variety of other services, which can help a business with its workforce challenges. These include access to funding for training and education of workers and business development resources. To learn more about these options, visit the website or contact any of the WorkSource Oregon Centers listed below.

Web WorkSourceOregon.org​

Technical assistance

WorkSource Oregon Employment Department
Business & Employment Services Programs
875 Union St NE, Room 201
Salem, OR 97311
Phone 503-947-1659
Web oregon.gov/EMPLOY

Staff at WorkSource Oregon Centers will assist agricultural employers with employment recruiting and other workforce services:

139 SE Fourth Ave

450 Marine Dr

Baker City
1575 Dewey Ave

241 SW Edgeway Dr

1645 NE Forbes Road

16261 Hwy 101, Ste 11

809 W Jackson St, Ste 400

Canyon City
120 S Washington

Coos Bay/North Bend
2075 Sheridan Ave

545 SW 2nd St

580 Main St, Ste B

104 Litch St

2510 Oakmont Way

3180 Hwy 101 N

Grants Pass
1569 NE “F” St

19421 SE Stark St

950 SE Columbia Dr, Ste B

Hood River
205 Wasco Loop, Ste 101

Klamath Falls
801 Oak Ave

La Grande
1901 Adams Ave

La Pine
1901 Adams Ave

44 Industrial Way, Ste B

Lincoln City
801 SW Hwy 101, Ste 102

243 SW 3rd St, Ste B

370 NE Norton Ln

119 N Oakdale St

84105 Hwy 11

120 NE Avery St

375 SW 2nd Ave

Oregon City
506 High St

408 SE 7th St

Portland Central
30 N Webster

Portland Columbia Express
4610 Trenton St

Portland SE
7916 SE Foster Rd, Ste 104

2321 NE 3rd St

2158 SE College Lp, Ste B

846 SE Pine St

605 Cottage St NE

St. Helens
500 N Hwy 30

101 30th St

St Helens
500 N Hwy 30, Ste 320

The Dalles
700 Union St, Ste 105

2101 5th St

7995 SW Mohawk St
503-612-4200 ex. 2

120 East Lincoln, Rm 115B

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Social Security: No-match

SSN no-match letter

No-match letters are correspondence that employers receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that the SSA is unable to match the name and social security number (SSN) provided for a specific employee to its records.

Employers should carefully follow all required I-9 procedures to ensure workers are legally documented, including the following:

  • Employers should retain all correspondence with regard to employment verification.
  • Employers should not use discriminatory methods in verifying employment eligibility or verifying employees’ identities. Employers should institute the same practices for every person hired. Resorting to “citizen only” hiring policies to avoid SSA inquiries is illegal.
  • Immigration status or citizenship may not be inferred by a person’s accent or appearance or country of origin.

Note: The above recommendations should not be construed as legal advice. Consult your attorney for legal advice to make sure hiring procedures are properly implemented on your operation.

Technical assistance

Social Security Administration
Phone 800-772-1213
Web socialsecurity.gov/SSA_Home.html

Social Security Number Verification Service
Web socialsecurity.gov/employer/ssnv.htm​

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Workers' compensation

Who must comply?

Under Oregon law, every employer employing one or more workers in Oregon must maintain workers’ compensation insurance so that workers of the employer and their beneficiaries will receive compensation as required by the workers’ compensation laws in the event of a work related injury, disease, or death.

If you pay someone to work for you (even someone with a family relationship), and you are in charge of the way the job is done, that worker is probably your employee and subject to workers’ compensation coverage. 

Employers provide workers’ compensation coverage by qualifying (a) as a carrier-insured employer or (b) as a self-insured employer as provided by, ORS 656.407, which requires posting of a surety deposit with the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

The surety deposit must be sufficient to cover future claim costs. Commonly, agricultural employers comply with the law by becoming a carrier-insured employer, much like purchasing car insurance or homeowners insurance.

Having private health insurance does not replace the obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance is required of all employers for their workers.

To discuss exceptions, contact the Workers’ Compensation Division, 503-947-7815.

For help in finding workers’ compensation insurance please contact your insurance agent or call the Small Business Ombudsman for Workers’ Compensation, 503-378-4209.

Workers’ compensation coverage provides all medical expenses related to the claim, as well as disability and vocational benefits to workers who are temporarily or permanently disabled. Payments are made to dependents if the worker dies as a result of occupational injury or disease. Workers’ compensation coverage is insurance designed to compensate workers injured on the job, and at the same time protect the employer from liability as long as that employer is in compliance with the law. In most cases, when an employer has workers’ compensation insurance, an injured worker must look for indemnification only from the insurer.

What if you don’t comply?

If you are found without the required workers’ compensation coverage, WCD sends an order to you, stating the period of noncompliance and assessing a fine. The penalty for the first offense is two times the amount of premium you should have paid for insurance, with a minimum of $1,000.

If you continue to employ workers without coverage, the penalty increases to $250 per day with no limit on the total fine. By law, bankruptcy can’t reduce this debt. In addition, WCD will request a permanent court injunction to force you to comply. If you disobey an injunction, you’re in contempt of court and subject to other types of sanctions, including jail time.

The expenses that result when a worker is injured could cost you even more than penalties. By law, a non-complying employer is financially responsible for the same benefits insured workers receive.

The law requires that a certified claims examiner process the claim. You must pay a fee for this processing in addition to claim benefit costs. The total bill can (and often does) amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Business owners cannot hide behind a corporation or limited liability company because corporate directors and officers, and limited liability company members and managers are personally and separately liable for penalties and claim expenses. Lawsuit protection doesn’t apply to non-complying employers. So an employee can file suit against a non-complying employer in addition to having a legitimate workers’ compensation claim. Carrying workers’ compensation insurance is vital to your business.

Insurance premium

This is a payment made by an employer to an insurer for workers’ compensation insurance coverage.


Workers’ Compensation premium is calculated by multiplying a unique rate for your assigned classification per $100 of your gross annual workers’ compensation payroll.

Four factors influence the premium for each farm employer:

  • Type of farm operation (dairy, orchard, ranch, etc.). Farm operations are categorized into National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) classification codes based upon the business of the employer. In turn, the NCCI class code determines the initial loss cost. The statewide risk (injuries) associated with each NCCI class code determines the loss costs, i.e., the higher the injury costs in each NCCI category, the higher the loss cost rate. For example, the 2011 loss cost rate for a dairy operation is $3.57 per $100 of annual payroll; for a cattle operation/ranch, the loss cost is $13.54 per $100; $3.74 per $100 for orchard operations; and $.41 per $100 for berry picking by hand.
  • A business with more than $2,500 in annual premium may qualify for an experience modification. The experience modification compares the employer’s actual past claims experience to a model that represents the average claim experience for the employer’s classification. If the employer’s experience is less than average, it gets a rating lower than 1.00, which will lower the premium. If it is greater than average, the rating is higher than 1.00, which will raise the premium.
  • The experience modification formula generally uses three years of payroll and loss experience to calculate an experience modification factor. Therefore once an injury occurs it remains a factor in determining the farm’s premium for the next three policy years. Farm operators can significantly reduce premiums over time by implementing a well-managed worker safety program, thereby reducing the number of on-the-job injuries. Some employers may reduce their experience modification by enrolling in the medical reimbursement program. Contact your insurer to see if enrolling in this program makes financial sense.
  • Expense loading factor or loss cost multiplier: The loss cost multiplier is a component of the premium rate that accounts for insurer expenses relating to acquisition, taxes, claims adjustment, general expenses, profit, and contingencies. Each licensed workers’ compensation carrier in Oregon files one or more loss cost multipliers to account for their costs of doing business over and above the loss cost. Farm operators may want to shop around with various carriers to determine which has the most competitive rate.


There are two types of assessments paid to the Department of Consumer and Business Services: Premium assessment and workers’ benefit fund (WBF) “cents-per hour” assessment.

The premium assessment is a flat rate assessed to all insurers, which is included in the insurance premium. This assessment funds administrative cost of the workers’ compensation system, non-complying employer claims, a portion of, OR-OSHA administrative costs, and other related programs.

The workers’ benefit fund “cents-per hour” assessment is a payroll assessment calculated on the basis of covered workers’ hours worked. The employer collects half the assessment from the worker and the employer contributes the other half of the assessment. The assessment is reported and paid by the employer directly to the state with other payroll taxes each calendar quarter through the combined quarterly payroll tax reporting system. Employers report by using a Form OQ or Form OQ-WBF, and pay accompanied by a Form OTC (payment coupon). These forms are available from the Oregon Employment Department. This assessment funds programs for direct benefits to injured workers and the employers who help make it possible for them to return to the workforce.

Reporting injuries

To ensure that all injuries are reported timely, encourage employees to report all accidents immediately. To ensure that reports are made accurately, encourage employees to verify all of the facts concerning an accident before completing the report. If an injured worker required only first aid and did not lose time from work, a report to the insurer may not be required, unless the worker chooses to file a claim. In all circumstances, it is important that the choice of whether to file a claim or not, is made by the injured worker. If the worker is induced by the employer or insurer not to file a claim the employer or insurer may be penalized. The Report of Job Injury or illness (Form 801) must be filed with your insurer within five days after knowledge of a claim. Claims should be reported using Form 801, or Form 801S in Spanish, all of which are available from the insurer.

Record keeping

A record of the date, nature, and treatment of every injury, including minor ones requiring only first aid, should be kept going back at least five years. These records may be useful in case the worker later seeks medical treatment related to a previous accident or injury. Any sufficient form may be used to document minor injuries. A physician must complete Form 827, Worker’s and Health Care Provider’s Report for Workers’ Compensation Claim, for all cases involving lost time from work or treatment.

As an employer, you are considered to have knowledge of an accident when any one of the following occurs:

  • You or your authorized representative, such as a farm manager or supervisor, see an accident and know that a worker was injured as a result of that accident.
  • The worker or someone on the worker’s behalf advises you or your representative, orally or in writing, that an on-the-job injury has occurred.
  • The worker notifies you that he or she intends to file a claim for a condition previously not considered work-related.
  • Your insurer receives a Form 827 filled out by the doctor and signed by the worker.
  • The worker or his or her representative tells your insurer, orally or in writing, that an on-the-job injury has occurred.

Compensable injury

A compensable injury is an accidental injury or disease occurring in the course of employment that requires medical services or results in disability or death. The following points are particularly important for agricultural employers:

  • A previous injury or physical condition, if aggravated by current employment, could result in a compensable claim.
  • The absence of witnesses does not prevent an injury from being compensable.
  • If a worker does not follow company rules, the claim could still be compensable.

Technical assistance

Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services
Benefits & Certifications Unit
Phone 503-947-7840 
Toll-free: 1-800-452-0288 
Fax 503-947-7810 
E-mail workcomp.questions@state.or.us 
Web www.wcd.oregon.gov           
Small Business Ombudsman for Workers' Compensation 
350 Winter Street NE 
PO Box 14480 
Salem, OR 97309-0405 
Phone 503-378-4209 
Fax 503-373-7639 

Collection and reporting of workers' benefit fund assessment
Fiscal and Business Services 
350 Winter St NE, Room 300 
PO Box 14480 
Salem OR 97309-0405 
Phone 503-947-7977 
Fax 503-378-3134 
E-mail Wbfassess.fabs@state.or.us

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