Hired farm labor represents 60 to 70 percent of the total operating costs for many producers of fruits, vegetables and horticulture. Hired labor has a major impact on profitability. Many Farmers still use manual timekeeping practices that are imprecise and very time consuming.
Oversight’s cloud based Farm Labor Solution (FLS) offers an accurate, cost effective alternative. Our service is a complete digital solution using the following four modules:
- Human Resource
- Hourly and Piece Rate Data Collection
- Payroll Processing
- Business Intelligence
Farm Labor Solution’s time and attendance data may be used for all categories of hired labor – permanent, part time, H-2A, and migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFWs).
Since most of the hired labor is either H-2A or MSFW, the Solution focuses on meeting the unique governmental reporting requirements for those workers.
The HR module securely stores each worker's personal data, such as SSAN, emergency contact info, key I-9 and W-4 data, etc. It also stores H-2A and MSFW worker's unique features such as contract start and end dates, the farmer's hourly commitment, etc. As an added feature there is a place to record incidents (discipline, medical, etc.), as well as the dates when mandatory training and orientation was conducted.
Hourly and Piece Rate Data Collection
FLS uses the latest digital technology, including ruggedized smartphones, to collect in-field data. These devices read either barcodes or near field communication (NFC) tags, depending which are most cost effective. (No longer does the farmer have to juggle multiple buttons and wait hours to download the collected data.) Our data collection is less expensive, more flexible, and the information is readily available.
When the farm chooses to use piece rate, FLS collects that information alongside the on-site hours. The Solution collects piece rate by individual or crew. This can be done digitally, by coupon, or added manually at the end of an activity.
Based on the established rates, the system records both straight hourly compensation and piece rate compensation for each worker activity. This module sends the larger of the two to the Payroll Processor.
Payroll processing is fairly straight forward for domestic farm workers; however, it is much more difficult for international workers, especially H-2A workers. The Department of Labor requires many unique features, such as “hours offered” and the “three-fourths guarantee”.
Our Processor produces an Hours and Earnings Statement that meets rigid governmental demands. From there, our solution creates the NACHA approved form to send to the farmer’s bank. We will also assist in creating fee limited Payroll Debit Card or a DDA for each worker. Since many of these workers send a portion of their wages back to Mexico, we help make that less time consuming and they pay lower fees.
In addition to calculating the appropriate dollar compensation for each worker, the Farm Labor Solution helps the farmer to see exactly where their labor dollars are being spent – by crop, by activity, and by field. With this Business Intelligence, the farmer can make better operational adjustments for next year.
By comparing piece rate performance over time, the farmer will also be able to identify their most productive workers for next year. Also, since we are already collecting the pieces in the field, it is relatively easy to confirm that same number of pieces reach the packing shed.
Other Labor Related Systems:
Since the Farm Labor Solution can serve as a “complete package”, we recommend that farmers use all four modules. However, we realize that many farmers are already using various other systems. The good news is that our digital data can be easily formatted to flow directly into most of those other systems, such as Famous, Quick Books, etc.