Growing Problems with Unemployment for Farmers

Unemployment for Farmers
Unemployment for Farmers

Unemployment for farmers and agricultural workers is crazy complicated in Minnesota.  Quite frankly, it shouldn’t be so hard.  But, it is.

So we are clear, I am not talking about farm owners.

Instead, I am referring to people who help farmers (employees, contractors, side-hands, etc.) and their agricultural process.

Unemployment for Farmers is Hard Stuff

Here is why this question is hard.  I didn’t state impossible…I said hard.  There is a difference.

Minnesota unemployment laws generally exclude workers from benefits and make the farm worker prove an exception.

employment in “agricultural employment” [is non-covered employment] unless it is “covered agricultural employment” under subdivision 11; or

if employment during one-half or more of any pay period was covered employment, all the employment for the pay period is covered employment; but if during more than one-half of any pay period the employment was noncovered employment, then all of the employment for the pay period is noncovered employment. “Pay period” means a period of not more than a calendar month for which a payment or compensation is ordinarily made to the employee by the employer.

Looks complicated, right?  Right.  And in my experience, most farm employees and helpers helpers rarely go into a job thinking about Minnesota rule 268.035.

Laws for Unemployment and Agriculture

The rule every farm worker should review is whether they have a job that is “covered agricultural employment”.  Generally, there are two types of farm workers that meet this rule:

  • The worker was employed by a farm that paid $20,000 in wages during a 3 month window, or
  • The worker was employed by a farm that hired 4 or more workers during the calendar year.

The best part about the above rule(s) is the fact the 4 or more workers are not required to work at the same time or during the same week.

It is easy to panic about these rules because they are generally unanswerable from the outside looking in.  Do not freak out.  Many farms meet these rules.

In fact, I think every worker should assume the farm they worked at or with satisfied one of the above elements.

Farmer Workers Who Do Not Understand Unemployment Benefits

Very few workers know the payroll status of the farm that they work at.  Instead, most workers are worried about whether they are getting paid and if their paycheck will bounce.

If you have read other posts, you know I dislike the workforce center.

On the other hand, I believe engaging the unemployment office to seek payroll verifications for covered agricultural workers is a necessary step in the unemployment application process.

Unemployment for Farmers

In Minnesota, unemployment for farmers and workers is a big deal because the growing season is short.  Assuming staff members are ineligible is a horrible strategy.

Because the unemployment laws for agriculture support benefits and unclear at the sometime, I believe appealing these types of claims is even more significant.

How Can An Unemployment Lawyer Help?

Attorney Jasper Berg