This guide will explain the laws behind interns and volunteers. It also provides insights and strategies to help farmers reduce liability risks related to interns and volunteers. To facilitate the process, the hypothetical stories of farmers Amanda and Ralph are weaved in throughout. The guide will follow their decision-making process as they learn about the legal issues and begin to better understand their options for having interns and volunteers.
This guide covers federal employment law. State employment laws will also come into play, specifically when determining whether the farm must pay the state minimum wage (which can sometimes be higher than the federal minimum wage), get workers’ compensation coverage, and pay state payroll taxes for its interns and volunteers. Like at the federal level, some states provide exemptions to certain employment law obligations for agricultural labor. Unfortunately, state employment laws and exemptions vary immensely and there’s no easy way to summarize it! Farmers will therefore need to take the extra step of looking into their own state’s laws.