Strawberry and raspberry picking
Strawberry and raspberry pickers are paid on a piece work basis.
The following rates came into effect on May 1, 2020
Minimum wage rate for strawberry pickers: $1.04 per kilogram
Minimum wage rate for raspberry pickers: $3.89 per kilogram
Since they are paid on a piece work basis, the employer should weigh the containers filled by the pickers to pay them the wages that correspond exactly to the weight of the fruit they have picked.
Output affected by the state of the fields or the fruit
The state of the fields or the fruit, or other reasons beyond the worker’s control, such as a drought, may lower a strawberry or raspberry picker's output. In this case, the picker must be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate. They must be paid the difference between the minimum wage rate and the piece work rate.
To find out if a picker's output is affected by the state of the fields or the fruit, the picker’s output must be compared with the output of other pickers. If most pickers are paid at least the minimum wage, the state of the fields or the fruit cannot account for one picker’s lower output. In this case, the picker will be paid only the piece work rate.
How the piece work wage is calculated
Mathieu and Alexandra pick raspberries. Mathieu worked 7 hours and Alexandra worked 9 hours. At the end of the day, each had picked 35 kilograms of raspberries at a rate of $3.89 per kilogram. Their wage will be calculated as follows:
Piecework wage: 35 kg X $3.89 = $136.15
In this example, Mathieu and Alexandra’s hourly rate is higher than the minimum wage. The state of the fields or the fruit did not affect their output. Mathieu and Alexandra will each be paid $129.85 for their day.
Hourly rate for Mathieu: $136.15 ÷ 7 hours = $19.45
Hourly rate for Alexandra: $136.15 ÷ 9 hours = $15.12
How the wage is calculated when the state of the fields or the fruit affects output
Roberto picks strawberries. He worked 7 hours and picked 80 kilograms at a rate of $1.04 per kilogram. His wage will be calculated as follows:
Piece work wage: 80 kg X $1.04 = $83.20
In this example, Roberto’s output means that he has not reached the minimum wage rate. This is also the case for most of the other pickers. The state of the fields or the fruit has affected their output.
Minimum wage for 7 hours of work: $13.10 X 7 = $91.70
The employer will have to give Roberto and his coworkers who are in the same situation the difference between the minimum wage and what they earned with the piece work wage.
Difference between the minimum wage and the piece work wage: $91.70 - $83.20 = $8.50
The employer will have to add the amount of $8.50 to the piece work wage paid to Roberto and his coworkers’ who are in the same situation.