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Publication #FE397

2017 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Farm Labor Contractor Registration and Testing [State]1

Fritz Roka, Michael Olexa, Carol Fountain, and Jessica Fernandez2

Purpose

To establish state standards and registration procedures for farm labor contractors (crew chiefs) operating in the state of Florida. For information on corresponding federal regulations of farm labor contractors, see FE406, Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).

Who Must Register

A farm labor contractor (FLC) is any individual who

  • For a fee or other valuable consideration, recruits, transports into or within the state, supplies, or hires, at any one time in any calendar year, one or more farm workers to work for or under the direction, supervision, or control of a third person.

  • Recruits, transports into or within the state, supplies, or hires, at any one time in any calendar year, one or more farm workers and who, for a fee or other valuable consideration, directs, supervises, or controls all or any part of the work of such workers.

License Requirements

All persons wanting to be an FLC in Florida must register and obtain licenses from both the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR).

When registering for a Florida FLC license the first time, a person must

  • Possess a federal FLC license. (Note: fingerprints are required for the initial federal FLC license and for every three years with renewal applications. Florida does not require fingerprints to apply for a state FLC license.)

  • Fill out an application form and pay a non-refundable fee of $125.

  • Pass the Florida Farm Labor Contractor Test ($35 fee).

Florida FLC licenses must be renewed annually. Licenses expire on the last day of the birth month of the applicant. A contractor must reapply at least thirty days in advance prior to the expiration of the current license. To renew a license, a contractor must fill out the application form and pay a $125 re-registration fee.

Labor Contractor Test

Applicants for a Certificate of Registration must pass a written examination. The examination may be taken in English, Spanish, or Haitian-Creole. If the applicant has difficulty reading the test, a DBPR staff person will read the questions. The test questions are true/false and are designed for applicants to demonstrate their knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of an FLC.

There is a $35 fee to take the test (includes the test and educational materials). Applicants who fail the test are allowed to retake the test for as many times as necessary to pass. A fee of $35 will be charged for every test re-take. Passing the test is a one-time requirement, except when DBPR revokes an applicant's license or denies an application for renewal. Conditions for such actions include

  • Issuances of a final order by DBPR during the previous year where the FLC was assessed a civil money penalty or the FLC's license was revoked due to regulatory infractions. To be reinstated, an FLC must reapply and retake the test.

  • The DBPR determines that any change in the duties and responsibilities of an FLC necessitates a new test. In this situation, all applicants for renewal would be required to be retested.

FLC Responsibilities

The rules state that FLCs must

  • Always carry their federal and state FLC licenses when engaged in this activity. These certificates must be produced or displayed to all persons with whom an FLC interacts.

  • Promptly pay monies when due workers, and semi-monthly, or at the time of payment, present each worker with a completed Notice of Payment in writing which must include the amount and rate of compensation, the number of hours worked, the employer's name, the employer's federal employment identification number, and a detailed itemization of all deductions from each worker's wages.

  • Prominently display in English and Spanish, if necessary, at the workplace and in vehicles used to transport workers a copy of the FLC's statement of working conditions (LES Form LET 3103) (this form is not required if federally required form WH-516 is already posted).

  • Prominently display in English and Spanish, if necessary, at the workplace and in vehicles used to transport workers a statement indicating the rate of compensation the FLC receives from the grower and what rate the FLC is paying the workers (LES Form ESF 3101).

  • Provide liability insurance coverage on all vehicles used to transport workers in an amount at least equal to that provided by the financial responsibility laws of Florida.

  • Submit proof that each vehicle used to transport farm workers is in compliance with the vehicular safety standards of the state in which the vehicle is registered.

  • Provide Workers Compensation coverage for all workers, unless exempt under agricultural small employer status.

  • Retain, for three years, a copy of each Notice of Payment and other required payroll information. Applicant should be prepared to provide copies of payroll receipts or check stubs if requested by the registering agency.

Note: Unlike MSPA, the State Act does not have a provision for a Farm Labor Contractor Employee Certificate. Therefore, any individuals performing contractor activities in Florida must register as an FLC under the State Act even if the FLC has an Employee Certificate under MSPA.

Enforcement of Farm Labor Laws

For minor infractions, DBPR officials can levy civil penalties on an FLC in $250 increments up to a maximum of $2,500. For a major violation, a civil money penalty of up to $2,500 per violation per day can be assessed, criminal prosecution as a third-degree felony, and revocation of the FLC's license. A minor infraction constitutes a violation of federal or state rules that do not lead to any physical or economic harm to agricultural workers. A major infraction results in physical and/or economic harm to agricultural workers. If an FLC's license has been revoked, the offending contractor must reapply and successfully pass the FLC examination.

Exclusions

The Florida Farm Labor Contractor Registration Law does not apply to

  • Any person who transports workers solely by means of a car pool.

  • Any person, or an immediate family member of such person, who is the owner or lessee of a farm or who is the owner or lessee of a packinghouse or food processing plant and who employs workers in planting, cultivating, harvesting, or preparing agricultural products for delivery to such packinghouse or food processing plant.

Additional Information

  • Chapter 450, Part III, Florida Statutes

  • Rule 38H-11, Florida Administrative Code

Responsible Agency for Registration

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Division of Professions
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 487-1395
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp

Responsible Agency for Compliance and Enforcement

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Division of Professions
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 487-1395
Toll-free 1(800) 226-2536
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/index.html

Footnotes

1.

This is EDIS document FE397, a publication of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, UF/IFAS Extension. Published 2003, revised 2009 and 2017. This handbook is produced and .distributed by the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law. Originally published by Leo Polopolus. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Fritz Roka, associate professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL. Michael Olexa, professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, and director, Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Carol Fountain, editor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Jessica Fernandez, graduate student, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

This document is designed to provide accurate, current, and authoritative information on the subject. However, since the laws, administrative rulings, and court decisions on which it is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice, and the information contained herein should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. For these reasons, the utilization of these materials by any person constitutes an agreement to hold harmless the authors, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the University of Florida for any liability claims, damages, or expenses that may be incurred by any person as a result of reference to or reliance on the information contained in this publication.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.