You know you need help getting the work of the farm done. But you don’t know much about all of the legal requirements that come along with hiring workers? Farm Commons is here to help! We have a whole host of employment law resources for you. Start with our Hiring Farm Workers Basics, a 6pg. FAQ-style resource that answers farmers’ most typical questions about hiring workers for their farm. If listening is more your style, check out our two free podcasts that will introduce you to the big concepts in farm employment law. Podcast Episode Two: Getting to Work on Your Farm (Part I) (30min.) covers farmworker classification (e.g. “Is my worker an employee or independent contractor?”) and goes through the list of legal and tax obligations that come along with hiring a new employee. Podcast Episode Three: Getting to Work on Your Farm (Part II) (29min.) gets into the tricky distinctions between interns and volunteers, explores workers’ compensation and provides additional employment law resources for farmers. Our tipsheets and podcasts are available to members and non-members alike.
As you get further along in your planning process, read through the Farmers’ Guide to Federal Employment Law for a more in-depth understanding of the legal mechanics behind having employees. You’ll quickly see that state specific laws matter when it comes to employment law. Browse the most basic farm employment law rules for your state in our one- to two-page Selected Basics in Farm Employment Law for Every State. These state-law supplements are meant to be read in conjunction with our broader Farmers’ Guide to Federal Employment Law. If you prefer a checklist format, browse the free Checklist of Selected Legal Obligations When Hiring a Farm Employee.
The planning stages of hiring are the best time to be thinking about a fair and equitable process. Assess whether your recruitment and hiring processes are legally defensible by reading our Avoiding Discrimination in Employment for Farm and Ranch Businesses guide, which is applicable to farmers in any state. We also have a Minnesota-specific guide, Avoiding Discrimination in Employment for Farm and Ranch Businesses in Minnesota, and a Wisconsin-specific guide, Avoiding Discrimination in Employment for Farm and Ranch Businesses in Wisconsin, for farmers in those states.
Thinking about hiring interns, apprentices, or volunteers? Before you sink time and effort into designing your program, look through our Farmers’ Legal Guide to Intern and Volunteer Programs. Being proactive is the best way to avoid negative consequences down the road.