Difference between revisions of "Farm Workers' Wages (No. 273)"

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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards Jennifer Hagen], Employment Standards Branch|date= January 2018}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = work}}
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Farm workers are covered by most sections of the main provincial law that protects workers in BC. But there are exceptions. Some of them involve how '''farm workers are paid'''.
  
This script explains the rules for farm worker wages (or pay), including minimum wages, how often wages must be paid, overtime pay, farm labour contractors, and payroll records. The ''Employment Standards Act'' is the provincial law that sets these rules for farm workers not in a union. It’s available at [http://www.bclaws.ca www.bclaws.ca].
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==Understand the legal framework==
  
The Act also deals with who is a farm worker, public holidays (also called statutory holidays), vacation pay, and what to do if your employer doesn’t follow the rules. For that and other information (on workers’ compensation, employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, sexual harassment and discrimination at work), check script [[Farm Workers' Rights (Script 274)|274]], called “Farm Workers’ Rights”.
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===Who is considered a farm worker under the law===
  
==Who is a farm worker?==
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Under the [http://canlii.ca/t/85mz law in BC], a '''farm worker''' is a person who works in a farming, ranching, orchard, or agricultural operation, and whose main responsibilities are:
A farm worker is a person who works in a farming, ranching, orchard, or agricultural operation. If you are hired to help grow or pick crops, cultivate land, or raise animals, you are a farm worker. You are also a farm worker if you clean, size, grade, box, or package fruits, vegetables, or other crops. But you are not a farm worker if you process food products, breed pets, work in forestry, aquaculture, or in a retail nursery, or work as a landscape gardener.
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*growing or picking crops, or raising or slaughtering animals,
 +
*cultivating land,
 +
*using farm equipment,  
 +
*cleaning, sorting, or packing crops, or  
 +
*selling farm products on site.
  
==What is the minimum wage for farm workers?==
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A farm worker does not include a worker who processes the products of an operation, works in aquaculture or a retail nursery, or works as a landscape gardener.
The BC government sets the minimum wage for farm workers, who can be paid by the hour (or salary or commission) or by the piece, as described next.
 
  
====1. If you’re paid by the hour, or by salary or commission====
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Farm workers are covered by most sections of the ''[http://canlii.ca/t/8405 Employment Standards Act]'', the main provincial law that protects workers in BC and sets minimum standards employers must meet. See our information on [[Farm Workers' Rights (No. 274)|farm workers’ rights (no. 274)]] for more on their rights under this and other laws.
:The minimum hourly wage is $10.25.
 
  
====2. If you’re paid by the piece====
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===Minimum wage for farm workers===
:The minimum rate for picking certain fruit or vegetables by hand is set by the BC government and depends on the crop. For example, the minimum rate is different for a pound of raspberries than for a pound of beans. A bin of apples and a bin of grapes have different rates.
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'''Minimum wage''' is the lowest wage an employer can pay a worker. The minimum wage for farm workers depends on the way in which they are paid.
  
:Both the minimum hourly wage and piecework rates change occasionally – the Employment Standards Branch website lists them at [http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb]. Click “Factsheets - Minimum Wage” or click “Specific Industries – Agriculture”.
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Farm workers who harvest specific crops by hand may be paid by '''piece rate'''. The minimum piece rate is set by the BC government and varies depending on the crop. For example, the minimum piece rate is different for harvesting a pound of raspberries than for a pound of beans. A bin of apples and a bin of grapes have different rates.  
  
==Vacation pay and statutory holiday pay==
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All other farm workers, whether they are paid hourly, by salary, or by any other method must be paid at least the '''general minimum wage'''. As of June 1, 2019, the general minimum wage is $13.85 per hour.
Farm workers paid by the piece are not entitled to vacation pay since this is included in the piece rate (except for daffodils – the piece rate for them does not include vacation pay). But if you are paid by the hour or by a salary (or you pick daffodils) you are entitled to vacation pay (an extra 4% or 6% or your earnings depending on how long you have been employed) and vacation leave. Regardless of how you are paid, farm workers are not entitled to statutory holiday pay.
 
  
==Are children paid less?==
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The Employment Standards Branch website lists the current minimums; visit [http://gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards].
No. The minimum wage is the same for everyone, regardless of age. Currently, children 12 to 14 years old can work only if they get written consent from their parent or guardian. Children under 12 can work only if they get permission from the Director of Employment Standards.
 
  
==How often, how, and when must you be paid?==
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===How often workers must be paid===
An employer must pay you at least twice a month. A pay period cannot be longer than 16 days. An employer must pay all wages earned each pay period. An exception to this is if you hand pick fruit, vegetable, flower, or berry crops. Then, an employer must pay you 80% of all wages you earn in the first pay period of a month within 8 days of the end of that pay period. They must pay all wages you earn in the month (minus the wages paid in the first pay period) within 8 days of the end of the second pay period. Employers cannot wait until the end of the season to pay you.
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An employer cannot wait until the end of the harvest season to pay farm workers. An employer must pay workers at least '''twice a month'''. A pay period cannot be longer than 16 days.
  
If you work for a farm labour contractor, the contractor must pay you by direct deposit to your account at a bank, trust company, or credit union.
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Hourly and salaried farm workers must be paid all wages within eight days of the end of the pay period.
  
If an employer fires you or lays you off, the employer must pay you all wages owing within 48 hours of letting you go. If you quit, the employer must pay you all wages owing within 6 days of when you quit.
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Farm workers paid by piece rate may be paid at least 80% of total estimated wages owing at the middle of each month. All remaining wages must be paid within eight days of the end of the month.
  
==Do you get overtime pay?==
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===If a farm worker loses or leaves their job===
No, farm workers do not get overtime pay. The law does not limit the hours that farm workers can work, but it does say that an employer cannot let an employee work excessive hours or hours that could harm their health or safety.
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If an employer fires a farm worker or lays them off, the employer must pay the worker all wages owing within '''48 hours''' of letting them go.  
  
==Do you get minimum daily pay?==
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If a worker quits, the employer must pay them all wages owing within '''six days''' of when they quit.
If a farm labour contractor takes you to a worksite and then there is no work, the contractor must pay you for the longer of:
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*2 hours, or
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===Vacation pay and statutory holiday pay===
*the time it takes to go from the starting (or departure) point to the worksite and back to the starting point (or to another place no further than the starting point and acceptable to you).
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Most workers in BC are entitled to '''vacation pay'''. This is an extra 4% or 6% of a worker’s earnings, to provide them with pay while absent during vacation. (The percentage depends on how many years they’ve worked.)
 +
 
 +
Farm workers paid by piece rate are '''not''' entitled to vacation pay, as it’s included in the piece rate. The exception is for farm workers harvesting daffodils — the piece rate for them does not include vacation pay.
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Farm workers paid by the hour or by a salary (or who pick daffodils) are entitled to vacation pay, as well as vacation leave. They’re entitled to two weeks’ vacation after working for 12 consecutive months, and three weeks’ vacation after five years of employment.
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 +
All farm workers are excluded from '''statutory holiday''' entitlements.  
  
If work is not available because of bad weather or another cause beyond the control of the farm labour contractor, you do not get any minimum daily pay.
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===Wage statements on paydays===
 +
On paydays, an employer must give each farm worker a written wage statement that includes this information:
 +
*the employer’s name and address
 +
*the number of hours worked
 +
*the worker’s wage rate, whether hourly, salary, flat rate, piece rate, commission or other incentive basis
 +
*any money, allowance or other payment the worker is entitled to
 +
*the amount and purpose of each deduction
 +
*how the worker’s earnings are calculated if they are paid other than by the hour or by salary
 +
*the worker’s gross and net wages, and any vacation days taken and how much vacation entitlement remains
  
==If you work for a farm labour contractor==
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As well, the employer must keep detailed, written payroll records for each worker. The records must be in English and kept at the employer’s principal place of business. The records must be kept for two years after a worker’s employment ends.
If a farm labour contractor hires you, the contractor – not the farmer – is your employer. Farm labour contractors must have a licence from the BC government and follow certain rules. They must deposit money with the government to ensure that they will follow the rules. The government can use the deposit to pay farm workers hired by a contractor who does not pay them – even though the farmer paid the contractor.
 
  
==Vehicle safety notice==
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{| class="wikitable"
All vehicles used by farm labour contractors to take farm workers to a job site must have a vehicle safety notice posted in them. The notice says that all passengers must be seated, and in vehicles requiring seatbelts, every passenger must wear a seatbelt.
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|align="left"|'''Tip'''
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Keep your own records of the hours you work and the wages you get. If you think you were not paid enough, your own records will help prove the hours you worked and wages you got.
 +
|}
  
==Can a contractor charge you for gas, travel costs, or GST, or deduct money from your wages for hiring you or finding you work?==
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===If you work for a farm labour contractor===
No, farm labour contractors cannot do any of these things. As well, contractors must clearly display the wages being paid in 2 places – where the work is done and on all trucks and vehicles used to carry workers. The contractor must also keep a record showing the dates worked by each worker, the crop picked each day, and the volume or weight of crop picked each day by each worker.
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A '''farm labour contractor''' provides workers to agricultural producers. The workers might work on a variety of farms owned by different producers.
  
==Payroll records==
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If a farm labour contractor hires you, the contractor — not the farmer — is your employer. Farm labour contractors must have a licence from the BC government and follow certain rules. They must deposit money with the government to ensure they will follow the rules. The government can use the deposit to pay farm workers who are not paid by a contractor for work they’ve done.
Your employer must keep a written record of payroll information about your job. The record must be in English and kept at the employer’s principal place of business for 2 years after your employment ends.
 
  
The payroll record must include all the following information:
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A  farm labour contractor must clearly display the wages being paid to farm workers, in multiple places — at all work sites and in all vehicles used to transport workers. The contractor must pay a worker’s wages directly to their bank account by direct deposit. The contractor must also keep a record showing the dates worked by each worker, the crop picked each day, and the volume or weight of crop picked each day by each worker.
#Your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and occupation.
 
#The date your employment began.
 
#Your wage rate, no matter how you are paid (hourly, piece rate, salary, flat rate, commission or other incentive pay).
 
#The hours you worked each day.
 
#The benefits paid to you.
 
#Your gross and net wages.
 
#The amount and purpose of any deductions from your pay.
 
#The dates of any vacation you take, the amounts you are paid, and any vacation days and amounts owed to you.
 
  
Your employer must also give you a written wage statement every payday showing items 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the payroll information, plus the following 3 things:
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All vehicles used by farm labour contractors to take farm workers to a job site must be maintained to certain safety levels, and have a '''vehicle safety notice''' posted in them. The notice says all passengers must be seated and, in vehicles requiring seatbelts, all passengers must each wear one seatbelt.
*The employer’s name and address.
 
*How your earnings are calculated, if you’re not paid by the hour or salary.
 
*Any money, allowance, or other payment you’re entitled to.
 
  
Keep your own records of the hours you work and the wages you get. If you think you were not paid enough, your own records will help prove the hours you worked and wages you got.
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==Common questions==
  
==For more information==
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===Am I entitled to overtime pay?===
Check script [[Farm Workers' Rights (Script 274)|274]], called “Farm Workers’ Rights”, for information on:
+
No, farm workers do not get overtime pay. The law does not limit the hours that farm workers can work, but it does say an employer cannot let a worker work excessive hours or hours that could harm their health or safety.
*Public holidays
 
*Vacation pay
 
*Complaints against an employer
 
*Workers’ compensation
 
*Employment insurance
 
*Canada Pension Plan disability benefits
 
*Sexual harassment and discrimination at work
 
  
Check the Employment Standards Branch website at [http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb]. Click “Specific Industries” and then “Agriculture”, for fact sheets on farm workers and farm labour contractors. The fact sheets come in English, Punjabi, French, and Spanish.
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===Do I get minimum daily pay?===
 +
If a farm labour contractor takes you to a worksite and then there is no work, the contractor must pay you for the longer of:
 +
*two hours, or
 +
*the time it takes to go from the starting (or departure) point to the worksite and back to the starting point (or to another place no further than the starting point and acceptable to you).
  
You can also call the Agricultural Compliance Hotline at 604.513.4604. Or phone the Branch at 1.800.663.3316 or 250.612.4100 in the Prince George area. And for the location of the nearest Branch office, check [http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/contact/welcome.htm www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/contact/welcome.htm].
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If work is not available because of bad weather or another cause beyond the control of the farm labour contractor, you do not get any minimum daily pay.
  
 +
===Can a contractor deduct money from my wages for hiring me or finding me work?===
 +
No. A farm labour contractor must not charge a person for hiring or obtaining work for that person.
  
[updated January 2014]
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===Can a contractor charge me for gas, travel costs, or GST?===
 +
No. An employer cannot require a worker to pay any portion of an employer’s cost of doing business. As well, an employer cannot deduct or offset a worker’s earnings except for statutory deductions required by law (that is, income tax, Canada Pension Plan contributions, and Employment Insurance contributions), or with the written authorization of the worker.
  
 +
===Are there different minimum wage rates for children?===
 +
No. The minimum wage for workers is the same for everyone, regardless of age. An employer who wishes to hire a young person aged 12 to 14 years old must get written consent from the young person’s parent or guardian. Children under 12 can work only if they get permission from the Director of Employment Standards.
  
----
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==Get help==
----
 
  
 +
===With more information===
 +
The '''Employment Standards Branch''' is the provincial government office that administers the BC law that sets minimum standards for workers. The Branch website includes fact sheets on [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/factsheets/farm-labour-contractors farm labour contractors] and [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/factsheets/farm-workers farm workers], in several languages other than English. You can also call the Branch’s '''Agricultural Compliance Hotline''' at 604-513-4604.
 +
:Toll-free: 1-800-663-3316
 +
:Web: [http://gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards]
  
 +
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Latest revision as of 17:28, 1 June 2019

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Jennifer Hagen, Employment Standards Branch in January 2018.

Farm workers are covered by most sections of the main provincial law that protects workers in BC. But there are exceptions. Some of them involve how farm workers are paid.

Understand the legal framework

Who is considered a farm worker under the law

Under the law in BC, a farm worker is a person who works in a farming, ranching, orchard, or agricultural operation, and whose main responsibilities are:

  • growing or picking crops, or raising or slaughtering animals,
  • cultivating land,
  • using farm equipment,
  • cleaning, sorting, or packing crops, or
  • selling farm products on site.

A farm worker does not include a worker who processes the products of an operation, works in aquaculture or a retail nursery, or works as a landscape gardener.

Farm workers are covered by most sections of the Employment Standards Act, the main provincial law that protects workers in BC and sets minimum standards employers must meet. See our information on farm workers’ rights (no. 274) for more on their rights under this and other laws.

Minimum wage for farm workers

Minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer can pay a worker. The minimum wage for farm workers depends on the way in which they are paid.

Farm workers who harvest specific crops by hand may be paid by piece rate. The minimum piece rate is set by the BC government and varies depending on the crop. For example, the minimum piece rate is different for harvesting a pound of raspberries than for a pound of beans. A bin of apples and a bin of grapes have different rates.

All other farm workers, whether they are paid hourly, by salary, or by any other method must be paid at least the general minimum wage. As of June 1, 2019, the general minimum wage is $13.85 per hour.

The Employment Standards Branch website lists the current minimums; visit gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards.

How often workers must be paid

An employer cannot wait until the end of the harvest season to pay farm workers. An employer must pay workers at least twice a month. A pay period cannot be longer than 16 days.

Hourly and salaried farm workers must be paid all wages within eight days of the end of the pay period.

Farm workers paid by piece rate may be paid at least 80% of total estimated wages owing at the middle of each month. All remaining wages must be paid within eight days of the end of the month.

If a farm worker loses or leaves their job

If an employer fires a farm worker or lays them off, the employer must pay the worker all wages owing within 48 hours of letting them go.

If a worker quits, the employer must pay them all wages owing within six days of when they quit.

Vacation pay and statutory holiday pay

Most workers in BC are entitled to vacation pay. This is an extra 4% or 6% of a worker’s earnings, to provide them with pay while absent during vacation. (The percentage depends on how many years they’ve worked.)

Farm workers paid by piece rate are not entitled to vacation pay, as it’s included in the piece rate. The exception is for farm workers harvesting daffodils — the piece rate for them does not include vacation pay.

Farm workers paid by the hour or by a salary (or who pick daffodils) are entitled to vacation pay, as well as vacation leave. They’re entitled to two weeks’ vacation after working for 12 consecutive months, and three weeks’ vacation after five years of employment.

All farm workers are excluded from statutory holiday entitlements.

Wage statements on paydays

On paydays, an employer must give each farm worker a written wage statement that includes this information:

  • the employer’s name and address
  • the number of hours worked
  • the worker’s wage rate, whether hourly, salary, flat rate, piece rate, commission or other incentive basis
  • any money, allowance or other payment the worker is entitled to
  • the amount and purpose of each deduction
  • how the worker’s earnings are calculated if they are paid other than by the hour or by salary
  • the worker’s gross and net wages, and any vacation days taken and how much vacation entitlement remains

As well, the employer must keep detailed, written payroll records for each worker. The records must be in English and kept at the employer’s principal place of business. The records must be kept for two years after a worker’s employment ends.

Tip

Keep your own records of the hours you work and the wages you get. If you think you were not paid enough, your own records will help prove the hours you worked and wages you got.

If you work for a farm labour contractor

A farm labour contractor provides workers to agricultural producers. The workers might work on a variety of farms owned by different producers.

If a farm labour contractor hires you, the contractor — not the farmer — is your employer. Farm labour contractors must have a licence from the BC government and follow certain rules. They must deposit money with the government to ensure they will follow the rules. The government can use the deposit to pay farm workers who are not paid by a contractor for work they’ve done.

A farm labour contractor must clearly display the wages being paid to farm workers, in multiple places — at all work sites and in all vehicles used to transport workers. The contractor must pay a worker’s wages directly to their bank account by direct deposit. The contractor must also keep a record showing the dates worked by each worker, the crop picked each day, and the volume or weight of crop picked each day by each worker.

All vehicles used by farm labour contractors to take farm workers to a job site must be maintained to certain safety levels, and have a vehicle safety notice posted in them. The notice says all passengers must be seated and, in vehicles requiring seatbelts, all passengers must each wear one seatbelt.

Common questions

Am I entitled to overtime pay?

No, farm workers do not get overtime pay. The law does not limit the hours that farm workers can work, but it does say an employer cannot let a worker work excessive hours or hours that could harm their health or safety.

Do I get minimum daily pay?

If a farm labour contractor takes you to a worksite and then there is no work, the contractor must pay you for the longer of:

  • two hours, or
  • the time it takes to go from the starting (or departure) point to the worksite and back to the starting point (or to another place no further than the starting point and acceptable to you).

If work is not available because of bad weather or another cause beyond the control of the farm labour contractor, you do not get any minimum daily pay.

Can a contractor deduct money from my wages for hiring me or finding me work?

No. A farm labour contractor must not charge a person for hiring or obtaining work for that person.

Can a contractor charge me for gas, travel costs, or GST?

No. An employer cannot require a worker to pay any portion of an employer’s cost of doing business. As well, an employer cannot deduct or offset a worker’s earnings except for statutory deductions required by law (that is, income tax, Canada Pension Plan contributions, and Employment Insurance contributions), or with the written authorization of the worker.

Are there different minimum wage rates for children?

No. The minimum wage for workers is the same for everyone, regardless of age. An employer who wishes to hire a young person aged 12 to 14 years old must get written consent from the young person’s parent or guardian. Children under 12 can work only if they get permission from the Director of Employment Standards.

Get help

With more information

The Employment Standards Branch is the provincial government office that administers the BC law that sets minimum standards for workers. The Branch website includes fact sheets on farm labour contractors and farm workers, in several languages other than English. You can also call the Branch’s Agricultural Compliance Hotline at 604-513-4604.

Toll-free: 1-800-663-3316
Web: gov.bc.ca/employmentstandards
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence Dial-A-Law © People's Law School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.


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