Ginners and others who hire workers should be sure to comply with U.S. Department of Labor rules for salaries, overtime, bonuses, employment of migrant workers, and child labor.

“We will be doing investigations this year to determine compliance,” says Eric Nash, investigator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division, who discussed labor issues at the annual joint meeting of the Delta Council and Southern Cotton Ginners Association’s Ginning and Cotton Quality Improvement Committee.

“The agricultural sector has come a long way toward compliance, but there are still issues to be addressed, and we want to work with everyone to help them meet all the requirements.”

This year, Nash notes, every employee must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Ginners should be particularly aware of rules regarding overtime, he says. “Most overtime violations occur during the period the gin is starting up.”

It’s important to keep accurate records to document all overtime and any exemptions, Nash says.

Problems can also occur, he notes, in payment of discretionary bonuses, if the amount does not reflect any overtime earnings.