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Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance on their workers if cash wages are or exceed $1,200 in a year. If you host unpaid interns and apprentices on your farm, they must also be covered by workers’ comp (the training and/or room and board you provide them is valued in lieu of wages). The only exception to this is if your farm is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. To learn more, download the Employers’ Handbook:

Insurance can be purchased from the New York State Insurance Fund (, private insurers, or an employer can form/join a self-insurance group if they meet various requirements and post bond.

Disability Benefits

State law requires that employees be covered by a disability benefit if they are disabled off the job.  Most workers compensation insurance will also include this.  Family members (spouse or child) and farm laborers are exempt from this requirement.  Farm corporate officers and office workers need disability benefits coverage.  If the farm is held as a corporation or LLC then the family member exemption does not apply because no one is related to a business entity.

Minimum Wage

As of the revision date noted on this fact sheet, the Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25/hr; the New York State Minimum Wage is also $7.25/hr. This wage minimum applies to regular wage jobs and piece-rate jobs on farms with annual payroll over $3,000. It excludes immediate family and minors under 17 years of age employed on the same farm as their parents or guardians who are paid on a piece-rate basis at the same rate as employees over 17. The wage order permits deductions for meals and lodging supplied by an employer, except for lodging for seasonal migrant workers. Payments in kind may be permitted at not more than the farm market
value. Employers must post a summary of the wage order in a conspicuous place in their establishment, along with a copy of the general work agreement. The wage order permits specified allowances to be deducted from the minimum wage for meals and lodging supplied by an employer. However, an allowance for lodging is not allowed.

Youth Rate Certificate for Farm Work

You may not hire anyone 11 years or younger in New York State.  12- and 13-year-olds may work in harvest operations if they have Permit AT-25 and are accompanied by a parent during certain times of the day and year.  14- and 15-year-olds may work on farms with Permit AT-24 during non-school hours. Permits and working papers may be obtained from school offices.  Farm workers under 16 are prohibited from performing farm task involving power machinery.  16- and 17-year-olds may work on farms without permits or working papers

Contact your local NYS Department of Labor Office for more details

Migrant Workers (Workers who do not have a permanent residence in New York State)

A farmer or processor who uses the services of a farm labor contractor or crew leader must verify that that person has a Farm Labor Contractor Certificate of Registration issued by the New York State Department of Labor.

Growers and processors who bring in five or more workers from out of state must obtain a Migrant Labor Registration Certificate ( and report wages, housing, and working condition to the state.  If you plan to house five or more workers you must obtain a farm labor camp permit from the State Department of Labor (

Workers must be given written notice of wages, nature of work, period of employment, transportation, housing, benefits, and more.  A Spanish/English work agreement is available at

For more information contact: NYS Dept. of Labor, 518-457-9000;

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