Full-time farmers who could use a little extra help this year might want to think about hiring a student for summer employment. The Summer Farm Employment Program provides wage support to hire an employee full-time for the months of July and August. Half of the employee’s monthly salary up to a maximum of $400 is available. Employees must be between 15 and 24, residents of Alberta, and should not be a direct relative of the employer.
Employers must own or rent a farming operation in Alberta, produce a minimum of $25,000 worth of farm commodities and must be available to supervise the employee full-time.
Each farming operation is limited to one employee unless additional funding is available. Applications for a second employee will be reviewed after the application deadline and considered if funding is available.
The program covers work directly related to the farming operation and does not include domestic work, yard work or child care.
As a farm is one of the most dangerous work environments, safety of farm workers is of utmost importance. Employees receive farm safety information on a CD. They are required to review the information with their employer and must pass a safety quiz provided by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development prior to beginning work on the farm.
Employers must recruit their own employee, and provide daily supervision as well as ensuring safe working conditions for the employee. They must complete monthly records of time worked for payment. The employee is paid by the farmer, and by the government for each respective part of the salary, which must meet the provincial minimum hourly rate of $8.80.
Employees must not be working full-time anywhere else or be attending school while participating in the program. If they have been working full time prior to July 1, 2010, for the employer, they are not eligible for the program. Alberta Agriculture provides Worker’s Compensation coverage for approved program employees for the time they are working in the program.
Application forms and detailed information will soon be available on Alberta Agriculture’s website at www.agriculture.alberta.caor by calling the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276). Deadline for applying is May 31, 2010.