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Minimum Wage and Overtime in Agriculture

Starting January 1, 2023, employers will be required to pay overtime to agricultural workers after they work 55 hours in one workweek. There are some situations where an employer may be exempt from paying overtime and minimum wage.

How does Oregon law define agriculture? "Agriculture" includes farming in all its branches. Among other things, agriculture includes cultivating and tilling the soil, dairying, producing, cultivating, growing, and harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodities, raising livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry and any practices performed by a farmer on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparing for market, delivering products to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market. "Agriculture" generally does not include forest products and the harvesting of timber, but workers engaged in the planting, pruning, and harvesting of Christmas trees are considered agricultural employees.

The law

OAR 839-020-0004(4) 

House Bill 4002 (2022)

29 CFR §780.103 

Overtime and Minimum Wage

Is it ever necessary to pay overtime to farm workers?

Yes. Starting January 1, 2023, employers will be required to pay overtime to agricultural workers after they work 55 hours in one workweek. Starting January 1, 2025, employers will be required to pay overtime to agricultural workers after they work 48 hours in one workweek. Starting January 1, 2027, employers will be required to pay overtime to agricultural workers after they work 40 hours in one workweek. An employer should seek independent legal advice regarding their overtime obligations.

If an agricultural worker handles or otherwise works on products not grown by their own employer, or do not work within the definition of agriculture as outlined above, then the employee is due overtime after 40 hours. An employee who processes or handles ANY AMOUNT of another farmer’s crop is entitled to overtime under both state and federal law.

Do agricultural employers have to pay overtime to office staff?

It depends on the job duties and pay of the office staff. Some office staff may qualify for an overtime and minimum wage exemption as salaried executive or administrative employees. Please visit our page on Salaried Exempt Employees for additional information. An employer should seek independent legal advice regarding their overtime obligations.

What if the office staff of an agricultural employer do not meet the requirements for salaried exempt employees?
If the responsibilities of the office staff are limited to duties integral to the farming operations of their employer, then they are owed overtime after 55 hours in one workweek week starting January 1, 2023.
Do agricultural processors have to pay daily overtime?

Oregon law requires the payment of overtime to employees who work more than 10 hours per day in canneries, driers and packing plants, excluding those that are located on farms which primarily process products produced on such farms. ORS 653.265. The Bureau has interpreted “primarily process products produced on such farms” to mean the volume of product processed and not the value. An employer should seek independent legal advice regarding their specific overtime obligations.

While this daily overtime requirement does not apply to establishments located on farms and that primarily process products produced on such farms, employees of such establishments may still be owed overtime after 40 hours worked in a week — if an employee handles or processes ANY AMOUNT of another farmer’s crop, that employee is owed overtime after 40 hours under both state and federal law.

Starting January 1, 2023, employees of agricultural processors are owed overtime pay after 55 hours in one workweek even if the establishment is located on the farm of the employer and the employees only process products produced on such farm.

Agricultural employers should also note that the provisions of ORS 652.020 may also require the payment of daily overtime (after 10 hours in a day) and impose a maximum limit to hours worked each day (of 13 hours) when operations of the establishment constitute “manufacturing.” Manufacturing means the process of using machinery to transform materials, substances or components into new products. ORS 652.020(1)(b); OAR 839-001-0100(14). Learn more about manufacturing and canneries

Are employees on small farms exempt from minimum wage?

Both federal and state laws provide minimum wage and overtime exemptions for "small" farms, however, the criteria are different for each. Employers in small farming operations must take care to be sure that they are exempt under each law before deciding not to pay minimum wage. 

Federal criteria: If the employer did not employ more than 500 man-days of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year, the minimum wage exemption applies for all agricultural employees for the entire following year. A man-day is any day during which an employee performs agricultural labor for at least one hour. Federal laws do not require employers to pay overtime to employees who work 100% of their workweek in agriculture.

State criteria: If the employer did not employ more than 500 piece rate work days in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year, the employer’s hand harvesters and pruning laborers who are paid on a piece rate basis are exempt from minimum wage for the entire following year. If this criteria is met, the hand harvesters and pruning laborers would also be exempt from any overtime pay requirements.

Is it necessary to pay minimum wage to minors in agriculture?

Yes. That said, Oregon law also provides a minimum wage exemption for all hand harvesters who are 16 years old and younger, as long as they are paid on the same piece rate basis as older workers. Federal law requires that the parent or person standing in place of the parent also be employed on the same farm. Learn more about minor workers.

What is the "commuter" exemption?

Hand harvesters who commute daily from their permanent residence, regardless of age, are exempt from minimum wage and overtime if they are paid on a piece rate basis and if they have been employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks in the previous calendar year.

Are there any limitations on the payment of "piece rates"?

For the purposes of the minimum wage and overtime exemptions listed here, the payment of piece rates must be "in an operation generally recognized as piecework in the region of production." 

Are there any exemptions for ranchers?

Yes. Workers who spend more than 50 percent of their time in the range production of livestock are exempt from minimum wage and overtime. To be exempt, Oregon workers must be paid on a salary basis, which is defined as 2,080 hours times the current minimum wage, then divided by 12. ORS 653.020(1)(e) and ORS 653.010(9). Learn more about the current minimum wage.

Contact information

Contact us at ag.overtime@boli.oregon.gov with further questions about Oregon’s minimum wage or overtime laws in agricultural work.

Contact USDOL at 503-326-3057 for more information on federal law.

Further reading


Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them and the law that was current when the responses were written. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.​