LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Like all businesses, horticultural businesses are subject to regulation by all levels of government. Horticulturists may have an above-average number of laws and regulations to comply with, especially if they are involved in plant production. Some of the laws and regulations are described in Table 22-1.

Laws and Regulations Affecting Horticulturists

TABLE 22-1.

Law or Regulation

Purpose

Cost

Employer Employee

Comment

Deceptive Practice or Product Regulations

To protect the consumer from unrealistic descriptions and claims for products and services

No costs

Regulations such as these may be consumer protection laws or industry-initiated trade practices.

Fair Labor Standards Act

To establish a minimum wage for all workers; to establish standards for payment of overtime work; to prevent abuse of child labor

Cost borne by employer

Equal pay must be given for equal work on jobs that require equal skills and responsibilities.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Permits employees to take time off, unpaid, for up to 12 weeks for maternity, child adoption, or serious illness

No cost

The leave is unpaid, but all benefits must be fully restored when employees return.

Laws and Regulations Affecting Horticulturists (Continued)

Law or Regulation

Purpose

Cost

Employer

Employee

Comment

Farm Labor Contractors Registration Act

To ensure fair treatment of migrant workers.

They must be accounted for through regular payroll accounts and must be provided by each employer with information about their work area, housing, insurance, transportation, wage rates, and charges.

Cost borne by employer and paid to a farm labor contractor

Nurseries are most likely to be affected.

H2-B Program

Ten month visas are issued to legal aliens who want to work only temporarily in the U. S.

It permits a company to employ needed foreign laborers during a peak season without the need to retain them during the off-season.

Must pay the prevailing labor wages

Visas cost $750 each

Alien employees must have their visas recertified each year by the federal INS.

Immigration Reform and Control Act

All employers must verify that every new hire is either a U. S. citizen or authorized to work in the country.

No cost

Civil and criminal penalties are applied to employers who knowingly recruit, hire, or retain unauthorized aliens.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

To ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees

Cost borne by employer

No cost, but required to comply with the law by using all safety devices properly

All employers with at least eleven employees are covered by the law. The law is enforced by the states.

Pesticide Application Certification

(Environmental Pesticide Control Act)

To limit the use of toxic pesticides and to ensure that they are used only by persons knowledgeable about their safe and proper use

Cost

(minimal) borne by applicator

Once certified, the applicator must stay up to date by acquiring a number of recertification points by a certain date. Points are awarded for participation in various professional meetings.

(continues)

Laws and Regulations Affecting Horticulturists (Continued)

Law or Regulation

Purpose

Cost

Employer

Employee

Comment

Plant Patent Act

To protect the right of the inventor or discoverer of a plant to be the sole asexual propagator of the plant

May increase cost of production for a grower

Plant patents are valid for seventeen years.

Plant Pest Act

To regulate by quarantine the entry and distribution of plants and plant products into and across the United States in order to protect against foreign plant pests

Fees charged for import/ export permits and nursery inspections

Quarantines may control the movement of plants between countries, between states, or within individual states.

Price and Services Act

To ensure that all commercial customers are treated equally by a seller by forbidding selective prices or services

No cost, but employer must ensure compliance

The use of printed wholesale price lists is a common means of proving compliance with the law.

Social Security

To provide financial assistance to persons after their retirement; to provide income for surviving dependents after a worker’s death

A percentage of a base amount of employee’s wage (subject to change over time)

An equal amount is withheld from paycheck

Current trends are for both the percentage and the base amount to increase regularly to meet the expenses of the system.

Unemployment

Compensation

To provide financial protection for workers who lose their jobs for reasons other than firing

3.4 percent of the first $6,000 of wages (subject to change over time)

Warranties Act

To define the terms "full warranty" and "limited warranty" as used by tradespeople

Replacement cost borne by employer

Horticulturists are not required to offer warranties, but if they do they must either replace a product completely or in part in compliance with the terms of their stated warranties.

Workmen’s

Compensation Insurance

To provide compensation to employees injured on the job

Cost borne by employer

Coverage is required for all businesses having at least one employee in a hazardous occupation or at least three employees.