U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 02, 2023
It is the purpose of the interpretative bulletins in this part to provide an official statement of the views of the Department of Labor with respect to the application and meaning of the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, which exempt certain employees from the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements, or both, when employed in agriculture or in certain related activities or in certain operations with respect to agricultural or horticultural commodities.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is a Federal statute of general application which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, equal pay, and child labor requirements that apply as provided in the Act. These requirements are applicable, except where exemptions are provided, to employees in those workweeks when they are engaged in interstate or foreign commerce or in the production of goods for such commerce or are employed in enterprises so engaged within the meaning of definitions set forth in the Act. Employers having such employees are required to comply with the Act's provisions in this regard unless relieved therefrom by some exemption in the Act, and with specified recordkeeping requirements contained in part 516 of this chapter. The law authorizes the Department of Labor to investigate for compliance and, in the event of violations, to supervise the payment of unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation owing to any employee. The law also provides for enforcement in the courts.
The Act provides a number of specific exemptions from the general requirements described in § 780.1. Some are exemptions from the overtime provisions only. Others are from the child labor provisions only. Several are exemptions from both the minimum wage and the overtime requirements of the Act. Finally, there are some exemptions from all three—minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor requirements. An employer who claims an exemption under the Act has the burden of showing that it applies (Walling v. General Industries Co., 330 U.S. 545; Mitchell v. Kentucky Finance Co., 359 U.S. 290). Conditions specified in the language of the Act are “explicit prerequisites to exemption” (Arnold v. Kanowsky, 361 U.S. 388). “The details with which the exemptions in this Act have been made preclude their enlargement by implication” and “no matter how broad the exemption, it is meant to apply only to” the specified activities (Addison v. Holly Hill, 322 U.S. 607; Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254). Exemptions provided in the Act “are to be narrowly construed against the employer seeking to assert them” and their application limited to those who come “plainly and unmistakably within their terms and spirit” (Phillips v. Walling, 334 U.S. 490; Mitchell v. Kentucky Finance Co., 359 U.S. 290; Arnold v. Kanowsky, 361 U.S. 388).
(a) The specific exemptions which the Act provides for employment in agriculture and in certain operations more or less closely connected with the agricultural industry are discussed in this part 780. These exemptions differ substantially in their terms, scope, and methods of application. Each of them is therefore separately considered in a subpart of this part which, together with this subpart A, constitutes the official interpretative bulletin of the Department of Labor with respect to that exemption. Exemptions from minimum wages and overtime pay and the subparts in which they are considered include the section 13(a)(6) exemptions for employees on small farms, family members, local hand harvest laborers, migrant hand harvest workers under 16, and range production employees discussed in subpart D of this part, and the section 13(a)(14) exemption for agricultural employees processing shade-grown tobacco discussed in subpart F of this part.
(b) Exemptions from the overtime pay provisions and the subparts in which these exemptions are discussed include the section 13(b)(12) exemption (agriculture and irrigation) discussed in subpart E of this part, the section 13(b)(13) exemption (agriculture and livestock auction operations) discussed in subpart G of this part, the section 13(b)(14) exemption (country elevators) discussed in subpart H of this part, the section 13(b)(15) exemption (cotton ginning and sugar processing) discussed in subpart I of this part, and the section 13(b)(16) exemption (fruit and vegetable harvest transportation) discussed in subpart J of this part.
(c) An exemption in section 13(d) of the Act from the minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor provisions for certain homeworkers making holly and evergreen wreaths is discussed in subpart K of this part.
The application of provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act other than the exemptions referred to in § 780.3 is not considered in this part 780. Interpretative bulletins published elsewhere in the Code of Federal Regulations deal with such subjects as the general coverage of the Act (part 776 of this chapter) and of the child labor provisions (subpart G of part 1500 of this title which includes a discussion of the exemption for children employed in agriculture outside of school hours), partial overtime exemptions provided for industries of a seasonal nature under sections 7(c) and 7(d) (part 526 of this chapter) and for industries with marked seasonal peaks of operations under section 7(d) (part 526 of this chapter), methods of payment of wages (part 531 of this chapter), computation and payment of overtime compensation (part 778 of this chapter), and hours worked (part 785 of this chapter). Regulations on recordkeeping are contained in part 516 of this chapter and regulations defining exempt administrative, executive, and professional employees, and outside salesmen are contained in part 541 of this chapter. Regulations and interpretations on other subjects concerned with the application of the Act are listed in the table of contents to this chapter. Copies of any of these documents may be obtained from any office of the Wage and Hour Division.
The regulations in this part contain the official interpretations of the Department of Labor with respect to the application under described circumstances of the provisions of law which they discuss. These interpretations indicate the construction of the law which the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator believe to be correct and which will guide them in the performance of their duties under the Act unless and until they are otherwise directed by authoritative decisions of the courts or conclude, upon reexamination of an interpretation, that it is incorrect.
The ultimate decisions on interpretations of the Act are made by the courts (Mitchell v. Zachry, 362 U.S. 310; Kirschbaum v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517). Court decisions supporting interpretations contained in this bulletin are cited where it is believed they may be helpful. On matters which have not been determined by the courts, it is necessary for the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator to reach conclusions as to the meaning and the application of provisions of the law in order to carry out their responsibilities of administration and enforcement (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134). In order that these positions may be made known to persons who may be affected by them, official interpretations are issued by the Administrator on the advice of the Solicitor of Labor, as authorized by the Secretary (Reorg. Pl. 6 of 1950, 64 Stat. 1263; Gen. Ord. 45A, May 24, 1950; 15 FR 3290; Secretary's Order 13–71, May 4, 1971, FR; Secretary's Order 15–71, May 4, 1971, FR). Interpretative rules under the Act as amended in 1966 are also authorized by section 602 of the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966 (80 Stat. 830), which provides: “On and after the date of the enactment of this Act the Secretary is authorized to promulgate necessary rules, regulations, or orders with regard to the amendments made by this Act.” As included in the regulations in this part, these interpretations are believed to express the intent of the law as reflected in its provisions and as construed by the courts and evidenced by its legislative history. References to pertinent legislative history are made in this bulletin where it appears that they will contribute to a better understanding of the interpretations.
The interpretations of the law contained in this part are official interpretations which may be relied upon as provided in section 10 of the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947. In addition, the Supreme Court has recognized that such interpretations of this Act “provide a practical guide to employers and employees as to how the office representing the public interest in its enforcement will seek to apply it” and “constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance.” Further, as stated by the Court: “Good administration of the Act and good judicial administration alike require that the standards of public enforcement and those for determining private rights shall be at variance only where justified by very good reasons.” (Skidmore v. Swift, 323 U.S. 134). Some of the interpretations in this part are interpretations of exemption provisions as they appeared in the original Act before amendment in 1949, 1961, and 1966, which have remained unchanged because they are consistent with the amendments. These interpretations may be said to have congressional sanction because “When Congress amended the Act in 1949 it provided that pre-1949 rulings and interpretations by the Administrator should remain in effect unless inconsistent with the statute as amended. 63 Stat. 920.” (Mitchell v. Kentucky Finance Co., 359 U.S. 290; accord, Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254.)
On and after publication of this part 780 in the
The interpretations contained in the several subparts of this part 780 consider separately a number of exemptions which affect employees who perform activities in or connected with agriculture and its products. These exemptions deal with related subject matter and varying degrees of relationships between them were the subject of consideration in Congress before their enactment. Together they constitute an expression in some detail of existing Federal policy on the lines to be drawn in the industries connected with agriculture and agricultural products between those employees to whom the pay provisions of the Act are to be applied and those whose exclusion in whole or in part from the Act's requirements has been deemed justified. The courts have indicated that these exemptions, because of their relationship to one another, should be construed together insofar as possible so that they form a consistent whole. Consideration of the language and history of a related exemption or exemptions is helpful in ascertaining the intended scope and application of an exemption whose effect might otherwise not be clear (Addison v. Holly Hill, 322 U.S. 607; Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254; Bowie v. Gonzales (C.A. 1), 117 F. 2d 11). In the interpretations of the several exemptions discussed in the various subparts of this part 780, effect has been given to these principles and each exemption has been considered in its relation to others in the group as well as to the combined effect of the group as a whole.
The workweek is the unit of time to be taken as the standard in determining the applicability of an exemption. An employee's workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week. If in any workweek an employee does only exempt work, he is exempt from the wage and hour provisions of the Act during that workweek, irrespective of the nature of his work in any other workweek or workweeks. An employee may thus be exempt in 1 workweek and not in the next. But the burden of effecting segregation between exempt and nonexempt work as between particular workweeks is upon the employer.
Where an employee in the same workweek performs work which is exempt under one section of the Act and also engages in work to which the Act applies but is not exempt under some other section of the Act, he is not exempt that week, and the wage and hour requirements of the Act are applicable (see Mitchell v. Hunt, 263 F. 2d 913; Mitchell v. Maxfield, 12 WH Cases 792 (S.D. Ohio), 29 Labor Cases 69, 781; Jordan v. Stark Bros. Nurseries, 45 F. Supp. 769; McComb v. Puerto Rico Tobacco Marketing Co-op Ass'n, 80 F. Supp. 953, affirmed 181 F. 2d 697; Walling v. Peacock Corp., 58 F. Supp. 880–883). On the other hand, an employee who performs exempt activities during a workweek will not lose the exemption by virtue of the fact that he performs other activities outside the scope of the exemption if the other activities are not covered by the Act.
The combination (tacking) of exempt work under one exemption with exempt work under another exemption is permitted. For instance, the overtime pay requirements are not considered applicable to an employee who does work within section 13(b)(12) for only part of a workweek if all of the covered work done by him during the remainder of the workweek is within one or more equivalent exemptions under other provisions of the Act. If the scope of such exemptions is not the same, however, the exemption applicable to the employee is equivalent to that provided by whichever exemption provision is more limited in scope. For instance, an employee who devotes part of a workweek to work within section 13(b)(12) and the remainder to work exempt under section 7(c) must receive the minimum wage and must be paid time and one-half for his overtime work during that week for hours over 10 a day or 50 a week, whichever provides the greater compensation. Each activity is tested separately under the applicable exemption as though it were the sole activity of the employee for the whole workweek in question. The availability of a combination exemption depends on whether the employee meets all the requirements of each exemption which is sought to combine.