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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Total and Partial Unemployment TPU 415.1

Agriculture

A claimant who is engaged in agricultural pursuits can be either self-employed, or an employee. If the claimant is farming his/her own or rented property for profit, he/she is self-employed. If the claimant is working for another under a contract of hire, he/she is an employee.

As in all other occupations, the main factor in determining if a claimant is an employee of another, or self-employed, is who has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired. If the claimant is working under a contract of hire which directs the method of accomplishing the desired result, he/she is an employee of another.

A self-employed farmer may be entitled to benefits if his/her earnings are not XE. His/her net income is reportable as wages under the provisions of Section 1279 of the Code.

In Benefit Decision 6094, the Board considered the case of a claimant who began the accumulation of a small dairy herd, and-was selling the milk to a local dairy firm. In holding that the claimant was self-employed, and in receipt of wages, the Board said:

"The special definition of 'wages' appearing at the close of each of the . . . sections of the Act, (1252 and 1279) indicates, in our opinion, that the Legislature intended to include within the meaning of the term that amount of income received in the operation of any independent enterprise which is directly attributable to the personal services performed by a claimant for benefits.

In the instant case, the claimant received net income which was directly attributable to personal services performed in the production and sale of milk. The fact that these services were rendered in the operation of a 'subsistence homestead' does not mean that this net income may not be deemed 'wages' . . . "

The Board went on to say that the claimant was entitled to reduced benefits where the claimant's net income was not XE for a particular week.