29 CFR 780.316 - Thirteen week provision.
(a) The exemption provides that an “employee must have been employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks during the preceding calendar year.” For purposes of determining whether a worker has been employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks during the preceding calendar year, a week is considered to be a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours consisting of seven consecutive 24-hour periods during which the employee worked at least 1 “man-day.” Section 3(u) of the Act defines a man-day as “any day during which an employee performs any agricultural labor for not less than 1 hour.”
(b) In defining the term “week” in this manner for purposes of section 13(a)(6)(C) (as well as section 3(e)(2)) comports with the traditional definition of week used in administering all the other provisions of the law. On this basis, the phrase “employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks” means that an employee has spent less than 13 weeks in agricultural work, regardless of the number of hours he worked during each one of the 13 weekly units. This position recognizes and accommodates to situations where an employee works very long as well as very short hours during the week. This would accord with the legislative history of this exemption which clearly indicates that it was meant to apply only to temporary workers whose hours of work would undoubtedly vary in length, and would, thereby effectuate the legislative intent.
(c) In determining the 13-week period, not only that work for the current employer in the preceding calendar year is counted, but also that agricultural work for all employers in the previous year. It is the total of all weeks of agricultural employment by the employee for all employers in the preceding calendar year that determines whether he meets the 13-week test. In this respect a self-employed farmer who works as a hand harvest laborer during part of the year is considered to be “employed” in agriculture only during those weeks when he is an employee of other farmers. Thus, such weeks of employment are to be counted but any weeks when he works only for himself are not counted toward the 13 weeks.
(d) The 13-week test applies to each individual worker. It does not apply on a family basis. To carry the example in the preceding section further, members of a tractor driver's family who reside on the farm could be employed in picking cotton within the terms of the exemption even though the driver had been employed in agriculture as much as 13 weeks in the previous calendar year, so long as the family members themselves had not.
(e) If an employer claims this exemption, it is the employer's responsibility to obtain a statement from the employee showing the number of weeks he was employed in agriculture during the preceding calendar year. This requirement is contained in the recordkeeping regulations in § 516.33 (d) of this chapter.