Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, and Labor Laws

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a program funded jointly by federal and state employer payroll taxes. It offers financial support to individuals who lose their jobs through circumstances beyond their control. Employers contribute to both state and federal taxes based on a percentage of their payroll costs. While most agricultural employers are required to pay unemployment taxes, there are exceptions for small businesses. For more information, visit the United States Department of Labor website, or explore your state’s Unemployment Insurance Tax Information and Assistance website.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation, often referred to as workers’ comp, is a program designed to provide coverage for individuals injured while performing their job duties. It serves as a safeguard for both employees and employers. Certain states mandate employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which can be obtained through private insurance agents or state agencies. Learn more about how workers’ compensation works, including strategies for managing premium costs, on this page from Farm Commons.

Labor Laws

Prior to crafting a compensation package for a job posting, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with your state and local labor laws. This includes understanding regulations regarding minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave, and any exemptions applicable to agricultural workers. Labor laws vary significantly from state to state. Visit your state labor office’s website to gain insights into the specific requirements in your area. Additionally, our partners at Farm Commons have compiled state-specific guides to navigating agricultural labor law essentials. Contact us at newagrarian@quiviracoalition.org to receive a copy of the document tailored to your state.