Frequently Asked Questions

Category: Questions about GAP Connections ‎(27)

 

Topic: Alternate Authorization ‎(3)

What is an Alternate Authorization Form?

An alternate authorization form gives permission for someone to speak on behalf of the grower during a GAP Assessment process if the grower chosen for the assessment cannot be present. By signing this form, the grower waives any objections to the results of the audit based on the responses provided by the alternate and gives consent and authorizes the third-party auditor and GAP Connections to discuss results of the U.S. Tobacco GAP Audit with the alternate. The grower also understands and agrees that the authorization form shall be operative and will continue unless the grower notifies GAP Connections and revokes the authorization.

More information is available at Assessments

When do I need to have an Alternate Authorization Form?

If you have been chosen for a GAP assessment and you cannot be present on the day of the assessment, but you would like to have someone to speak on your behalf, you need to complete and sign the alternate authorization form. The form should be given to the assessment team on the day of the assessment or submitted to GAP Connections prior to the assessment visit.

Where can I find an alternate authorization form on-line?

You can find an alternate authorization form on the GAP Connections website. Click on For Growers in the taskbar at the top of the page, and then click on Assessments in the drop down menu or visit the following link: Assessments

 

Topic: GAP Assessment ‎(7)

How Can I Prepare for the Assessment?

If you are chosen for the assessment, you will be contacted by GAP Connections via letter (which explains the assessment process). This will include information about items and documents which will be reviewed during the assessment. The best way to prepare for the assessment is to keep your records up to date throughout the season.

Another way to improve the efficiency and shorten the time of the assessment is to answer some additional profile questions. Sign into the Grower ID System with your Grower ID number and password, click "Profile", and answer the additional profile questions found by clicking on the "Farm and Labor Info" button in the upper right –hand corner. This will eliminate the need for the questions to be asked on your farm visit.

What do Assessements Cover?

Assessments cover record keeping, safety practices, labor practices, and environmental practices. Once a grower is selected for assessment, a checklist will be mailed to the grower as a preparation tool to provide guidance on what will be covered during the assessment. Assessors will visit some of your production facilities and possibly interview some of your employees.

What does the term “associated grower” mean? How does this affect the assessment?

Associated Grower ID's are the Grower ID numbers of individuals that farm together.

Example: If you farm with your father or son and the following requirements are met below you can associate those Grower ID's and have the assessment results count for the entire operation including all those involved.

Requirements for Associated Growers:

  • The same labor force, whether family or hired, work in all fields and if hired is paid by the same person or entity for all work.
  • Decisions about management for fields are made jointly; there are not designated fields for each grower in which that grower makes separate management decisions and markets the tobacco separately.

What is a GAP Assessment?

GAP Assessment is a process of reviewing your progress in using the best agricultural and labor management practices in tobacco production in your farm operation. It will consist of a visit at your farm by assessment team. GAP compliance assessments offer an opportunity for growers to showcase their commitment to implementing best management practices that protect the environment, provide a safe workplace, and ensure a quality crop. They also offer an opportunity for growers to address concerns and receive guidance to reduce the risk of labor and environmental regulation violations. Assessments "level the playing field" by ensuring all growers are following sustainable, good agricultural practices. The assessments also provide assurance to customers that they are buying a quality crop which adds value to US tobacco and the US tobacco industry as a whole.

What records do I need to keep and what is the most acceptable way of keeping those?

The records that you need to keep are explained in the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program Guidelines and Records. The guidelines are found in the GAP manual and GAP record templates which you should have received at your GAP training.

They can also be found at U.S. Tobacco GAP

The record templates provided by GAP Connections are a convenient way to keep the required records. However, the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program does not require their use. You are allowed to keep track of your records in any other way which is convenient for you, as long as you cover all the requested records. Electronic record keeping systems are acceptable and encouraged.

Who Chooses Me for an Assessment?

Growers are randomly chosen for assessment by contracting companies.

Who conducts the assessments?

Assessments are being conducted by a third party auditing firm. For 2015, the assessments are being conducted by Footprint BenchStrength.

 

Topic: GAP Training ‎(4)

How do I view my training transcript?

To view your training transcript at any time, login to your account here. Once you are signed in, select the green "Transcript" tab to view your training records.

In addition to the internet access, each grower member will be mailed a transcript of their training records once each year.

If you have any questions about your training, please contact GAP Connections at 865.622.4606

How often do I have to go?

GAP Recertification training is currently required once per year for all growers to maintain their GAP certification. However, individual contracting companies may require additional training(s). Growers are encouraged to check the requirements of their contracting companies.

What are credits and how do I get them?

Credits are received by attending GAP training. A "credit" indicated training received in one of three broad management areas, crop, environmental, and labor.

What is a GAP Training?

GAP Trainings are events organized during the winter and spring each year in cooperation with Extension and Department of Labor. At the GAP training, we provide updates on current GAP standards and recommendations on the best agricultural practices. Topics are selectively chosen to address current grower, industry, and regional concerns. Growers who attend training events will receive a credit in crop, environmental, and labor management.

 

Topic: Grower Card ‎(4)

How to download the mobile GAP app?

GAP app is available from iTunes and the Google Play Store. The GAP Connections Grower App provides special features for members, including easy access to their profile information, training history, access reports and a list of upcoming events.

Download Instructions for iPhone Users:

  1. Go to the App Store on your mobile device.
  2. Click on the "Search" button at the bottom of the home page in the App Store.
  3. Search for "GAP Connections Grower."
  4. Select the "Get" button and then select "Install."
  5. The App Store will then ask you to provide your Apple ID password to download the app.
  6. After the password is entered, the App will download to your device.

Download Instructions for Android Users:

  1. Go to the Play Store on your mobile device.
  2. Click on the "Google play" button at the top of the screen to search.
  3. Search for "GAP Connections Grower."
  4. Select the "Install" button.
  5. Follow any remaining prompts regarding your Google Play account.
  6. Once all information is entered, the App will download to your device.

If I have lost my card do I have to get a new one or are there any other alternatives?

If you have lost your card you can:

  • Print the temporary replacement card from your profile (described in the previous question) as often as you need it.
  • Take a photo of your card and use it as a replacement if you lose the original card. The QR code can be scanned from the photo.
  • Download the mobile GAP app for a mobile version of the card
  • Just use your six-digit GAP ID number and your birthdate. Training can be entered manually with this information.

What are Grower Cards?

Grower cards are provided to grower members as a convenient way of documenting their membership and recording their participation in training events. Grower cards contain the six digit grower ID, full name, date of birth, and a QR code. They are scanned at training events to log attendance. Cards should be brought to each meeting and are mailed to growers after membership registration (cards can be mailed without QR code upon request). The GAP card is permanent and does not need to be reissued annually.

What happens if I lose my GAP ID card? How do I get a new one?

If a grower card is lost, it can be replaced. To request a new card, log in to your account here. Once logged in, select the green "Profile" tab. On the right-hand side of the profile page underneath the GAP grower card, there is an "Order Replacement Card" tab. Select this tab and follow the prompts to order a replacement card. The charge for a replacement card is $13. Most major credit cards are accepted. A temporary replacement card can be printed during the shipment of your new card by clicking on the printer icon above the GAP grower card from the profile page.

 

Topic: Grower ID System ‎(7)

How do I associate another grower ID with mine?

To associate a grower ID with your own, login to your GAP Connections profile here. At the bottom of the user info profile screen under "Associated Growers" select the "Add Associated Grower" tab. Enter in the grower ID of the person you are associated with and then select the green "Add Grower Association" tab.

How do I log into the Grower ID System?

To log in to the Grower ID system, click here. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, select the green "Sign In" tab. On the next page, select the green "Grower" tab. Enter your Grower ID number and password and select the green "Log In" tab.

How do I reset my password?

To reset your password via phone, call us at 865-622-4606. Please have your grower ID ready. To reset your password online, log in to your GAP Connections profile here. In the upper right-hand corner of the profile page select the gray "Change Password" tab. On the next page, enter your current and new password and select the green "Change password" tab. If you forgot your password, select the "Forgot Password" tab from the login page. Enter your grower ID and select the green "Reset Password" tab. A temporary password will be sent to the email address you have on file. If you did not provide and email address or your email address on file has changed, call us to request a new temporary password.

What if I don’t grow tobacco anymore?

If you no longer grow tobacco, then you are not required to continue GAP training. However, if you are considering growing tobacco again in the future, we recommend continuing GAP training and holding on to your card. If you will definitely not be growing tobacco in the future, please notify us at 865-622-4606 so we can remove you from our system and mailing list.

What is a grower profile? What information is contained on my profile page?

A profile is a personal record that each grower can personally fill out to aid GAP Connections in collecting important grower information. The profile includes grower's full name, contact information, birth date, a copy of the grower card, associated growers, tobacco type, acreage, and fuel type if necessary, farm infrastructure information, irrigation type, and labor information.

What is a grower profile? What information is contained on my profile page?

A profile is a personal record that each grower can personally fill out to aid GAP Connections in collecting important grower information. The profile includes grower's full name, contact information, birth date, a copy of the grower card, associated growers, tobacco type, acreage, and fuel type if necessary, farm infrastructure information, irrigation type, and labor information.

What is the Grower ID System?

The grower identification system helps GAP and individual grower members to keep track of their records. The system also provides a convenient way to document grower GAP program participation and, with grower's permission, transfer the information to the grower's contracting company. When growers register as a GAP grower member, they are automatically a part of the grower ID system. The ID number consists of 6 digits specific to each grower.

 

Topic: H-2A Labor ‎(2)

Under H-2A, are there any protections for the H-2A employer if a worker purposely destroys a growers property?

The H-2A regulations do not specifically include any protections for the employer if the worker damages or destroys property during the course of his/her employment. The employer may choose, however, to file a private suit against the worker for such damage – possibly under a state tenancy law.

Under the H-2A program, if an employee requests Social Security withdrawal from their wages, is the H-2A employer required to the pay the other 7.5% or does the employee pay both portions?

This question should be addressed by the Social Security Administration https://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10107.pdf but according to the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Agricultural-Workers, H-2A workers are exempt from social security.

 

Category: Questions about Labor Laws and Regulations ‎(44)

 

Topic: Fair Labor Standards Act ‎(12)

Are office employees of a farm exempt from overtime?

Yes, if the office employees work is exclusive to the farmers farming operations. If the farmer has the employees engage in work for another business other than farming operations then the exemption is lost.

Are there any "small farm" exemptions from any provisions of FLSA?

Any employer in agriculture who did not utilize more than 500 "man days" of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar year is exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the FLSA for the current calendar year.

A "man day" is defined as any day during which an employee performs agricultural work for at least one hour.

As a tobacco producer, do I need to pay my workers the overtime pay?

Employees who are employed in agriculture are exempt from the overtime pay provisions. They do not have to be paid time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked in excess of forty per week.

If my farm operation falls under the FLSA requirements what is the minimum wage I need to provide to my workers?

Employers must, if covered, pay at least the minimum wage to all covered employees. Beginning July 24, 2009, the minimum wage increased to $7.25 per hour. In cases where an employee is subject to different state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.

Other than "500 man days" is there any other exemption from minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA?

Additional exemptions from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act for agricultural employees apply to the following:

  • Agricultural employees who are immediate family members of their employer
  • Those principally engaged on the range in the production of livestock
  • Local hand harvest laborers who commute daily from their permanent residence, are paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, and were engaged in agriculture less than thirteen weeks during the preceding calendar year
  • Non-local minors, 16 years of age or under, who are hand harvesters, paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, employed on the same farm as their parent, and paid the same piece rate as those over 16.

Other than children of owner/operators, are there other exemptions?

There are some exemptions from the prohibitions:

  • 14 and 15-year old student learners enrolled in vocational agricultural programs are exempt from certain hazardous occupations when certain requirements are met; and
  • minors aged 14 and 15 who hold certificates of completion of training under a 4-H or vocational agriculture training program may work outside school hours on certain equipment for which they have been trained.

What about immediate family? Do these Hazardous Occupation restrictions apply to them?

The prohibition of employment in hazardous occupations does not apply to youths employed on farms owned or operated by their parents.

What are the Federal Minimum Age Standards for Agricultural Employment?

Youths ages 16 and above may work in any farm job at any time. Youths aged 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

Youths 12 and 13 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s) or with written parental consent.

Youths under 12 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs with parental consent, but only on farms where none of the employees are subject to the minimum-wage requirements of the FLSA.

Local youths 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than 8 weeks between June 1 and October 15 if their employers have obtained special waivers from the Secretary of Labor.

Youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents.? Individual states also have laws covering child labor, and they may be more stringent.

What are the Hazardous Occupations in Agriculture and to which age group do they apply?

Minors under 16 may not work in the following occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor:

  • operating a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from such a tractor;
  • operating or working with a corn picker, cotton picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, unloading mechanism of a non-gravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer, power post-hole digger, power post driver, or nonwalking-type rotary tiller;
  • operating or working with a trencher or earthmoving equipment, fork lift, potato combine, or power-driven circular, band or chain saw;
  • working in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by a bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes; a sow with suckling pigs; or a cow with a newborn calf (with umbilical cord present);
  • felling, buckling, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with a butt diameter or more than 6 inches;
  • working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet;
  • driving a bus, truck or automobile to transport passengers, or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper; FS 40
  • working inside: a fruit, forage, or grain storage designed to retain an oxygen-deficient or toxic atmosphere; an upright silo within 2 weeks after silage has been added or when a top unloading device is in operating position; a manure pit; or a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing purposes;
  • handling or applying toxic agricultural chemical identified by the words "danger," "poison," or "warning" or a skull and crossbones on the label;
  • handling or using explosives; and
  • transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia.

What is FLSA?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the Federal Law which establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Where can I find FLSA posters to stay in compliance with the FLSA?

Posters are available on the Department of Labor website: http://www.dol.gov/oasam/boc/osdbu/sbrefa/poster/matrix.htm?

You can also contact GAP Connections at (865) 622-4606 if you need a poster and it will be shipped (fee for a shipment).

Who enforces the federal youth employment laws and what is the violation fine?

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Labor Department's Employment Standards Administration enforces the laws. Employers may be fined up to $11,000 for each youth employment violation.

 

Topic: Farm Labor Contractors ‎(3)

I use a crew leader to get my labor. Is that the same as a Farm Labor Contractor?

People use many different terms for FLC, such as crew leader, crew boss, straw boss, etc.

The term "crew leader" is basically the same as Farm Labor Contractor if the crew leader is a person who for money or other valuable consideration paid or promised to be paid, recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes or transports migrant and/or seasonal agricultural workers or, provides housing to migrant agricultural workers. Many "crew leaders" perform one or more of these functions.

What are the requirements for registration as an FLC? How to register?

Before performing any farm labor contracting activity, a farm labor contractor must register with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and obtain a certificate of registration.

A farm labor contractor must be specifically authorized to provide housing or transportation to migrant or seasonal agricultural workers prior to providing the housing or transportation. Persons employed by farm labor contractors to perform farm labor contracting activities also must register with DOL. Application for registration can be made at local offices of the State Employment Service.

Farm labor contractors and farm labor contractor employees who perform farm labor contractor activities must carry proof of registration and show it to workers, agricultural employers, agricultural associations, and any other person with whom they deal as contractors. Agricultural associations, agricultural employers, and their employees are not considered farm labor contractors and do not have to register. However, before they engage the services of any farm labor contractor, they must take reasonable steps to ensure that the contractor has a DOL certificate of registration valid for the services to be performed.

To register as a farm labor contractor, contact either the nearest Office of State Employment Services, listed in most telephone directories under State government, or the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed under U.S. Government, Labor Department.

To inquire about the validity of a certificate, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free number 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Who is a Farm Labor Contractor?

A Farm Labor Contractor (FLC) is someone who, for money or other valuable consideration paid or promised to be paid, recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes or transports migrant and/or seasonal agricultural workers or, provides housing to migrant agricultural workers. Agricultural employers, agricultural associations and their employees are not included in the term.

 

Topic: H-2A Labor ‎(7)

Can a grower provide his H-2A workers for a day to a neighbor grower who needs assistance? Can the grower include any growers name he might help during the season in providing workers on the 790 in advance?

No. H-2A workers can only work for the fixed-site H-2A employer.

Does a grower need to list jobs such as mowing the grass, cutting trees, maintenance of the barn, house or fence in the job description for H-2A workers and how does that apply to the pay rate for others who are doing the same job but not H-2A workers?

The grower must list all jobs for which he is seeking workers. If the grower has U.S. workers that already do those jobs, there should be no need for that grower to list those jobs on the job offer. However, if H-2A workers end up doing those jobs, regardless of whether those jobs are listed on the contract or not, they must be paid the AEWR and provided with all the benefits of H-2A. For U.S. workers who are performing those same jobs, they are now workers in corresponding employment (since they are doing jobs that the H-2A workers are doing) and they also must be paid the AEWR and provided with all the benefits of H-2A. Of course, the employer may choose to pay the U.S. worker more than the AEWR, while only required to pay the AEWR to the H-2A worker.

Does a grower need to pay an H-2A worker the same fee (above the AEWR) for driving and handling equipment that he pays a U.S. Worker?

Under Section 655.122(a), an employer is prohibited from giving preferential treatment to H-2A workers, not U.S. workers. U.S. workers may be offered more or paid more than H-2A workers and/or provided greater benefits and/or better working conditions. The requirement for employers is that they offer U.S. workers no less than the same benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is offering, intends to offer, or will provide to the H-2A workers.

If the H-2A contract states that the job of "tractor driver" is to be paid at $12 per hour, then yes, anyone that performs that job must be paid $12 per hour. However, if the contract states that the job of "tractor driver" is to be paid at the AEWR, then that is all the employer must pay to the H-2A worker. If the employer chooses to pay a U.S. worker $12 per hour to drive a tractor, that employer does not have to pay an H-2A worker $12 per hour since the prohibition against preferential treatment is only against providing greater pay/benefits to an H-2A worker, not a U.S. worker.

How is the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR) determined?

The AEWR is determined by the USDA, specifically the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. They conduct a Farm Labor Survey that is published semi-annually. The H-2A AEWR is made up of survey information about field and livestock workers. Additional information can be found at their website: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys/Farm_Labor/

If a grower hiring H-2A workers is transporting them from the housing to the fields and from the fields back to the housing himself, is he obligated to have a doctor’s certificate and if yes how often does it need to be renewed?

All employer-provided transportation must comply, at a minimum, with the same transportation safety standards, under 500.105 (DOT rules). Part of those standards requires that drivers of transportation vehicles possess a valid doctor's certificate. A doctor's certificate is good for 3 years.

What additional information is needed if using the USDOL-WHD wage statement for H-2A workers?

The additional information needed if using the WHD wage statement (WH-501) is "hours offered."

What are the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) and do they differentiate through the United States?

The Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs) are the minimum hourly wage rates the Department of Labor has determined will not adversely affect the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers. The AEWR must be offered and paid by H2-A employers to H-2A workers and other workers on the farm in corresponding employment for a particular agricultural job and area. For more information please visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-19/pdf/2014-29746.pdf

AEWR differentiate through the USA. Please see the link below (map of USA with AEWR)

http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/2015_adverse_map.pdf

 

Topic: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act ‎(14)

Are grower associations such as North Carolina Grower's Association and AWMA in Kentucky exempt from FLC registration but still subject to MSPA and H2-A requirements?

Yes. However, if the grower who is part of an association is in violation of H2A or MSPA regulation, the association may be jointly responsible for the H2A/MSPA violations.

NCGA is considered an "Association". Under section 3(a)(7) of the Act:

Can my H2-A employee operate/ drive a vehicle in the United States?

H2-A workers are allowed to drive a motor vehicle in the United States if they have a valid drivers license from the country they are coming from, with the appropriate driver's license class for the vehicle they are operating.

Does MSPA require written wage statements?

Yes. Information on wage statements can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/mspa/index.htm.

If I provide housing for migrant and seasonal workers what do I need to comply with and is there any poster I need to post at the housing site?

Each person or organization which owns or controls a facility or real property used for housing migrant workers must comply with federal and state safety and health standards. A written statement of the terms and conditions of occupancy must be posted at the housing site where it can be seen or be given to the workers.

Is there a "small farm" exemption from MSPA?

Yes. Farms that hired less than 500 man-days of labor in any calendar quarter of the previous year are exempt. A "man-day" is one person, hired for at least one hour, on one day.

What are the major requirements of MSPA?

Farm labor contractors and each of their employees who will be performing farm labor contractor activities must obtain a certificate of registration from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can start farm labor contractor activities

Farm labor contractors, agricultural employers, and agricultural associations must disclose to migrant and seasonal workers information about wages, hours, and other working conditions, and about housing when provided,

Workers must be provided with written statements of earnings and deductions

If transportation is provided, vehicles used must be safe and properly insured

If housing is provided, it must meet safety and health standards.

What forms of employment need to be disclosed to migrant and seasonal workers, and who is responsible for this?

Agricultural associations, agricultural employers, and/or farm labor contractors must inform migrant and seasonal agricultural workers about prospective employment, including the work to be performed, wages to be paid, the period of employment, whether state workers’ compensation or state unemployment insurance will be provided.

What is a definition of a migrant agricultural worker?

A migrant agricultural worker is employed in agricultural employment of a seasonal or other temporary nature and is required to be absent overnight from his permanent place of residence while performing the work.

What is an FLC?

The term "farm labor contractor" means any person, other than an agricultural employer, an agricultural association, or an employee of an agricultural employer or agricultural association, who, for any money or other valuable consideration paid or promised to be paid, performs any farm labor contracting activity.

What is a definition of a seasonal agricultural worker?

A seasonal agricultural worker is an individual who is employed in agricultural employment of a seasonal or other temporary nature and is not required to be absent overnight from his permanent place of residence when employed on a farm or ranch performing field work related to planting, cultivating, or harvesting operations.

What is an agricultural association?

An agricultural association is any non-profit or cooperative association of farmers, growers, or ranchers, incorporated or qualified under applicable state law.

What is MSPA?

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) is the major Federal law that deals exclusively with agricultural employment. It protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures, and recordkeeping. It also requires farm labor contractors to register with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and to assure necessary protections for farmworkers, agricultural associations, and agricultural employers.

For more general information on the MSPA, please see the Employment Law Guide or Fact Sheet 49. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs49.pdf

What kind of payroll records does MSPA require me to have?

Agricultural associations, agricultural employers, and farm labor contractors must keep complete and accurate payroll records for all workers; in addition, farm labor contractors must give any other farm labor contractor, agricultural employer, or agricultural association to whom they supply workers, copies of payroll records for each worker supplied to that particular contractor, employer, or association.

When and in which form (oral or written) do I need to provide a disclosure of terms of employment to my employees?

Required disclosed information needs to be provided to seasonal workers when they are offered work, in writing if requested; and to migrant workers and seasonal day-haul workers in writing when they are being recruited. Workers compensation information, however, must be provided in writing to any type of worker.

Information must be written in English, Spanish or another language common to the workers, as appropriate. Once hired, migrant and seasonal workers have a right to receive upon request a written statement of such information.

 

Topic: OSHA ‎(8)

According to OSHA do I need to provide drinking water for my employees?

Covered agricultural employers must provide potable drinking water, suitably cool and in sufficient amounts, dispensed in single-use cups or by fountains, located so as to be readily accessible to all employees.

Are growers required to have seatbelts on tobacco harvesters?

If the harvester comes with a seat belt as standard equipment, it would need to be maintained and used by the driver. If it did not come with seat belts and was grandfathered due to age, then we would have to show that they could be retro-fitted with seat belts available on the market. Several questions…does the harvester have an enclosed cab to prevent the employee from being crushed during a rollover accident? What protection would the driver have if a rollover occurred, i.e. rollbar? What type of terrain is the harvester being used on? If it is on hills that would present a chance of rollover and no rollover or chance of being thrown from the harvester, then a hazard would exist. If it was on level fairly even ground with no obstructions or hazard of a rollover or being thrown from it then it would be hard to issue a violation. In any event, if a serious hazard was present, a 5(a)(1) General Duty clause would be issued for lack of seat belt or failure to use them.

Do I have to provide toilets and handwashing facilities for workers in the field and what are the requirements?

Covered agricultural employers must provide one toilet and handwashing facility for every 20 employees, located within a quarter-mile walk, or if not feasible, at the closest point of vehicular access. Premoistened towelettes, once allowed by some state regulators, cannot be substituted for handwashing facilities. Toilets and handwashing facilities are not required for employees who do field work for three hours or less each day, including travel to and from work.

Covered agricultural employers must provide notification to each employee of the location of the water and sanitation facilities, and must allow employees reasonable opportunities during the workday to use them. The FS 51 employer also must inform the employee of the relevant health hazards in the field and the practices necessary to minimize them. Employees cannot be made to bear the costs incurred by the employer for providing required facilities.

Is it my responsibility to maintain sanitation facilities or should my employees do that?

Employers must maintain such facilities in accordance with public health sanitation practices, including upkeep of water quality through daily change (or more often if necessary); toilets clean, kept sanitary, and operational; handwashing facilities refilled with potable water as necessary and kept clean, sanitary, and safe; and proper disposal of wastes from the facilities.

What are OSHA field sanitation standards?

The OSHA field sanitation standards require covered employers to provide: toilets, potable drinking water, and hand-washing facilities to hand-laborers in the field; to provide each employee reasonable use of the above; and to inform each employee of the importance of good hygiene practices. Covered employers who fail to comply with the statute or regulations may be subjected to a range of sanctions, including the administrative assessment of civil money penalties and civil or criminal legal action.

What does OSHA stand for?

OSHA stands for The Occupational Safety and Health Act. It was enacted to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women. Among many other things, It provides regulations for minimum standards for field sanitation.

When do OSHA requirements apply to me?

In general, the field sanitation applies to any agricultural establishment employing 11 or more workers on any day during the previous 12 months, to perform "hand labor" field work.

Which labor is considered “hand labor”?

"Hand labor" includes hand-cultivation, hand-weeding, hand-planting, and hand-harvesting of vegetables, nuts, fruits, seedlings, or other crops, including mushrooms, and the hand-packing of produce in the field into containers, whether performed on the ground, on moving machinery, or in a shed. "Hand labor" does not include the care and feeding of livestock or hand-labor operations in permanent structures (e.g. canning facilities or packing houses.) Except for hand labor reforestation work, the term "hand labor" also does not include forestry operations, such as logging.