I saw this by accident on the California FAQ on the state minimum wage.
1. Q. What is the minimum wage? A. Effective January 1, 2008, the minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour. It will increase to $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2014, and to $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016.
For sheepherders, however, effective July 1, 2002, the minimum wage was set at $1,200.00 per month. On January 1, 2007, this wage increased to a minimum monthly salary of $1,333.20, and on January 1, 2008, it increased again to a minimum monthly salary of $1,422.52. Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1600.34. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1777.98. Wages paid to sheepherders may not be offset by meals or lodging provided by the employer. Instead, there are provisions in IWC Order 14-2007, Sections 10(F), (G) and (H) that apply to sheepherders with respect to monthly meal and lodging benefits required to be provided by the employer.
What the hell? The new minimum wage is absolutely appropriate to every industry in California except sheepherding? It would be interesting to see the political process that led to this one narrow special rule. The state Speaker of the House's brother-in-law is probably in the sheep business.
This kind of crap is frustrating as hell for me. We have a labor model that is generally not even considered when politicians are setting labor law, and thus compliance causes us fits. I would love special labor exemptions for my workers as well, but I don't have any pull in Sacramento.
Postscript: While most folks think of the minimum wage as a restriction on employers, it is just as much a restriction on workers as well. I am glad to see the California site acknowledge this:
3. Q. May an employee agree to work for less than the minimum wage? A. No.