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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of August 18, 2014

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter BPart 780 → Subpart E


Title 29: Labor
PART 780—EXEMPTIONS APPLICABLE TO AGRICULTURE, PROCESSING OF AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES, AND RELATED SUBJECTS UNDER THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT


Subpart E—Employment in Agriculture or Irrigation That Is Exempted From the Overtime Pay Requirements Under Section 13(b)(12)


Contents
§780.400   Statutory provisions.
§780.401   General explanatory statement.
§780.402   The general guides for applying the exemption.
§780.403   Employee basis of exemption under section 13(b)(12).
§780.404   Activities of the employer considered in some situations.

The Irrigation Exemption

§780.405   Exemption is direct and does not mean activities are agriculture.
§780.406   Exemption is from overtime only.
§780.407   System must be nonprofit or operated on a share-crop basis.
§780.408   Facilities of system at least 90 percent of which was used for agricultural purposes.
§780.409   Employment “in connection with the operation or maintenance” is exempt.

§780.400   Statutory provisions.

Section 13(b)(12) of the Fair Labor Standards Act exempts from the overtime provisions of section 7 any employee employed in agriculture or in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways, not owned or operated for profit, or operated on a sharecrop basis, and which are used exclusively for supply and storing of water, at least 90 percent of which was ultimately delivered for agricultural purposes during the preceding calendar year.

[76 FR 18859, Apr. 5, 2011]

§780.401   General explanatory statement.

(a) Section 13(b)(12) of the Act contains the same wording exempting any employee employed in agriculture as did section 13(a)(6) prior to the 1966 amendments. The effect of this is to provide a complete overtime exemption for any employee employed in “agriculture” who does not qualify for exemption under section 13(a)(6) (A), (B), (C), (D), and (E) of the 1966 amendments.

(b) In addition to exempting employees engaged in agriculture, section 13(b)(12) also exempts from the overtime provisions of the Act employees employed in specified irrigation activities. The effect of the 1997 amendment to section 13(b)(12) is to expand the overtime exemption for any employee employed in specified irrigation activities used for supply and storing of water for agricultural purposes by substituting “water, at least 90 percent of which was ultimately delivered for agricultural purposes during the preceding calendar year” for the prior requirement that all the water be used for agricultural purposes. Prior to the 1966 amendments employees employed in specified irrigation activities were exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the Act.

(c) For exempt employment in “agriculture,” see subpart B of this part.

[37 FR 12084, June 17, 1972, as amended at 76 FR 18859, Apr. 5, 2011]

§780.402   The general guides for applying the exemption.

(a) Like other exemptions provided by the Act, the section 13(b)(12) exemption is narrowly construed (Phillips, Inc. v. Walling, 334 U.S. 490; Bowie v. Gonzalez, 117 F. 2d 11; Calaf v. Gonzalez, 127 F. 2d 934; Fleming v. Hawkeye Pearl Button Co., 113 F. 2d 52; Fleming v. Swift & Co., 41 F. Supp. 825; Miller Hatcheries v. Boyer, 131 F. 2d 283; Walling v. Friend, 156 F. 2d 429; see also §780.2 of subpart A of this part 780). An employer who claims the exemption has the burden of showing that it applies. (See §780.2) The section 13(b)(12) exemption for employment in agriculture is intended to cover all agriculture, including “extraordinary methods” of agriculture as well as the more conventional ones and large operators as well as small ones. Nevertheless, it was meant to apply only to agriculture. It does not extend to processes that are more akin to manufacturing than to agriculture. Practices performed off the farm by nonfarmers are not within the exemption, except for the irrigation activities specifically described in section 13(b)(12). Practices performed by a farmer do not come within the exemption for agriculture if they are neither a part of farming nor performed by him as an incident to or in conjunction with his own farming operations. These principles have been well established by the courts in such cases as Mitchell v. Budd, 350 U.S. 473; Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254; Farmers Reservoir Co. v. McComb, 337 U.S. 755; Addison v. Holly Hill Fruit Products, 322 U.S. 607; Calaf v. Gonzalez, 127 F. 2d 934; Chapman v. Durkin, 214 F. 2d 363, certiorari denied, 348 U.S. 897; McComb v. Puerto Rico Tobacco Marketing Co-op. Ass'n. 80 F. Supp. 953, 181 F. 2d 697.

(b) When the Congress, in the 1961 amendments, provided special exemptions for some activities which had been held not to be included in the exemption for agriculture (see subparts F and J of this part 780), it was made very clear that no implication of disagreement with “the principles and tests governing the application of the present agriculture exemption as enunciated by the courts” was intended (Statement of the Managers on the part of the House, Conference Report, H. Rept. No. 327, 87th Cong. first sess., p. 18). Accordingly, an employee is considered an exempt agricultural or irrigation employee if, but only if, his work falls clearly within the specific language of section 3(f) or section 13(b)(12).

§780.403   Employee basis of exemption under section 13(b)(12).

Section 13(b)(12) exempts “any employee employed in *  *  *.” It is clear from this language that it is the activities of the employee rather than those of his employer which ultimately determine the application of the exemption. Thus the exemption may not apply to some employees of an employer engaged almost exclusively in activities within the exemption, and it may apply to some employees of an employer engaged almost exclusively in other activities. But the burden of effecting segregation between exempt and nonexempt work as between different groups of employees is upon the employer.

§780.404   Activities of the employer considered in some situations.

Although the activities of the individual employee, as distinguished from those of his employer, constitute the ultimate test for applying the exemption, it is necessary in some instances to examine the activities of the employer. For example, in resolving the status of the employees of an irrigation company for purposes of the agriculture exemption, the U.S. Supreme Court, found it necessary to consider the nature of the employer's activities (Farmers Reservoir Co. v. McComb, 337 U.S. 755).

The Irrigation Exemption

§780.405   Exemption is direct and does not mean activities are agriculture.

The exemption provided in section 13(b)(12) for irrigation activities is a direct exemption which depends for its application on its own terms and not on the meaning of “agriculture” as defined in section 3(f). This exemption was added by an amendment to section 13(a)(6) in 1949 to alter the effect of the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Farmers Reservoir Company v. McComb, 337 U.S. 755, so as to exclude the type of employees involved in that case from certain requirements of the Act. Congress chose to accomplish this result, not by expanding the definition of agriculture in section 3(f), but by adding a further exemption. In view of this approach, it can well be said that Congress agreed with the Supreme Court's holding that such workers are not employed in agriculture. (Goldberg v. Crowley Ridge Assn., 295 F. 2d 7.) Irrigation workers who are employed in any workweek exclusively by a farmer or on a farm in irrigation work which meets the requirement of performance as an incident to or in conjunction with the primary farming operations of such farmer or such farm, as previously explained, are considered as employed in agriculture under section 3(f) and may qualify for the minimum wage and overtime exemption under section 13(a)(6) or for the overtime exemption provided agricultural workers under section 13(b)(12). Where they are not so employed, they are not considered as agricultural workers (Farmers Reservoir Co. v. McComb, supra), but may qualify for the overtime exemption under section 13(b)(12) relating to irrigation work if their duties and the irrigation system on which they work come within the express language of the statute. Where this is the case, it is not material whether the employees are employed in agriculture.

§780.406   Exemption is from overtime only.

This exemption applies only to the overtime provisions of the Act and does not affect the minimum wage, child labor, recordkeeping, and other requirements of the Act.

[76 FR 18859, Apr. 5, 2011]

§780.407   System must be nonprofit or operated on a share-crop basis.

The exemption does not apply to employees employed in the described operations on facilities of any irrigation system unless the ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways in connection with which their work is done meet the statutory requirement that they either be not owned or operated for profit, or be operated on a share-crop basis. The employer is paid on a share-crop basis when he receives, as his total compensation, a share of the crop of the farmers serviced.

§780.408   Facilities of system at least 90 percent of which was used for agricultural purposes.

Section 13(b)(12) requires for exemption of irrigation work that the ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways in connection with which the employee's work is done be “used exclusively for supply and storing of water at least 90 percent of which was ultimately delivered for agricultural purposes during the preceding calendar year.” If a water supplier supplies water of which more than 10 percent is used for purposes other than “agricultural purposes” during the preceding calendar year, the exemption would not apply. For example, the exemption would not apply where more than 10 percent of the water supplier's water is delivered to a municipality to be used for general, domestic, and commercial purposes. Water used for watering livestock raised by a farmer is “for agricultural purposes.”

[76 FR 18859, Apr. 5, 2011]

§780.409   Employment “in connection with the operation or maintenance” is exempt.

The irrigation exemption provided by section 13(b)(12) applies to “any employee employed *  *  * in connection with the operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs, or waterways” of an irrigation system which qualifies for the exemption. The employee, to be exempt, must be employed “in connection with the operation or maintenance” of the named facilities; other employees of the irrigation system, not employed in connection with the named activities, are not exempt. The exemption may apply to employees engaged in insect, rodent, and weed control along the canals and waterways of the irrigation system.



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