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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Wages and Compensation #56

Although most farm workers are paid above the minimum wage level, it does serve as a floor for all wage rates. The state minimum wage and piecework rates should not exceed the federal minimum wage.

We support:

  • An agricultural exemption from paid sick leave requirements.

  • Agriculture, as defined in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 11), remain exempt from overtime wage payments.

  • Agricultural piecework rates as a method of payment to allow for the many variable situations found in agricultural employment. Piecework rates enable skilled agricultural workers to earn income above the average and/or minimum hourly wage.

  • The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (MDLEO) work with the agriculture community to support the payment of piece rate in compliance with state and federal law.

  • Any increases in minimum wages be tied directly to increases of all wage-based employer thresholds, such as unemployment compensation insurance, frequency of withholdings, and frequency of deposits.

  • Investigating a state surveying mechanism and auditing of the survey for calculating ag wages including adverse effect wage rate (AEWR).

  • Unemployment payments should never exceed 80% of previous full pay and should not exceed 20 weeks.

  • Fair market value for employer provided housing should apply toward fulfillment of minimum wage and AEWR requirements.

  • An evaluation of the current Unemployment Insurance Agency in order to overhaul and make it user friendly and accurate.

  • The current Registration and Seeking Work Waiver be extended from a 45-day to a 120-day waiver for agriculture and other seasonal agriculturally-related businesses.

Economic development initiatives are important to the future of Michigan agriculture. We oppose any attempts to mandate union wage scales in economic development projects involving agriculture.

We oppose Workers’ Compensation rules that mandate fringe benefits being included in the base-rate premium, including housing and health insurance. We support the continued full liability coverage for employers who exercise due diligence in employee verification.

We oppose all local units of government setting a minimum wage rate.

We oppose the concept of predictive scheduling of employees due to the unpredictable nature of agriculture and agriculturally related businesses.

We oppose any additional tax on payroll wages for health care.

Recently more and more farms have added roadside markets and agritourism venues to their mix. We believe MDLEO should view any and all labor that is used for roadside markets and agritourism venues to be considered ag employees. We encourage Michigan Farm Bureau to work with MDLEO to develop and improve agricultural classification codes.

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