Farm Workers Frequently Asked Questions

  • Farm workers are excluded from overtime under the Employment Standards Act. However, a farm worker must not work excessive hours detrimental to the employee's health or safety.
  • A farm worker is defined in the Employment Standards Regulation as a person employed in a farming, ranching, orchard or agricultural operation and whose principal employment responsibilities consist of:
    • Growing, raising, keeping, cultivating, propagating, harvesting or slaughtering the product of any of the above operations.
    • Clearing, draining, irrigating or cultivating land.|
    • Operating or using farm machinery, equipment or materials for the above purposes.
    • Direct selling of a product of any of the above operations if the sales are done at the operation and are only done during the normal harvest cycle for that product.
    • The initial washing, cleaning, sorting, grading or packing of an unaltered product produced by the operation, or a similar product purchased from another operation during the normal harvest cycle for that product.
  • But does not include any of the following:
    • A person employed to process the products of a farming, ranching, orchard or agricultural operation.
    • A landscape gardener or a person employed in a retail nursery.
    • A person employed in aquaculture.
  • "Farm labour contractor" means an employer whose employees work, for or under the control or direction of another person, in connection with the planting, cultivating or harvesting of an agricultural product.
  • Before employing anyone under 15 years of age, an employer must have written consent from the employee's parent or guardian.
  • If the employee is under 12, the employer must also have permission from the Director of Employment Standards before work begins. For more information see the General Employment of Young People factsheet.
  • No. Employees being paid by the minimum piece rates established under 18(1) of the Regulations, are entitled to the crops piece rate times the gross volume or weight picked. See the piece rates guide.