California Assembly Passes Bill Expanding Overtime Protection For Farmworkers – Decision Now Up To Governor

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05/30/2017

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California Assembly Passes Bill Expanding Overtime Protection For Farmworkers – Decision Now Up To Governor

By: Gregory Blueford

Today, the California Assembly sent Governor Jerry Brown a bill which would expand the overtime rules for farmworkers. Assembly Bill 1066, which passed on a 44-32 vote, with 4 abstentions, brings farmworkers more in line with other industries, despite its vast differences from other industries, most notably its seasonality. Under existing law, farmworkers are entitled to overtime wages if they work more than 10 hours in a single day or on the seventh consecutive day.  The new law would offer time-and-a-half pay for farmworkers who work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 in a week and double pay for working more than 12 hours in a day.  As a result, the new law will put California farmers at an even greater competitive disadvantage compared to the vast majority of other states who continue to exempt farmworkers from overtime requirements.  

The bill, if signed by the Governor, would go into effect beginning in 2019 for employers with 26 or more employees and slowly lower the amount of hours before overtime kicks in until 2022 when it finally reaches 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a workweek. Employers with 25 or less employees would not have to begin complying with the law until 2022, which would phase in until 2025.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

This law does not become effective until it is signed by the Governor. However, this bill continues the ongoing trend of overregulation of the agricultural industry in California, which is already one of only a few states that require any overtime pay for farmworkers, and whose requirement for daily overtime is already the most expensive in the country. The lawmakers are clearly not on the ground in the agriculture industry and are ignoring its special circumstances, such as a limited season and dependence on Mother Nature, that make it distinct from other industries.

With that said, there is no guarantee that Governor Brown will sign the legislation. The state’s agricultural trade associations will continue to urge the Governor to veto this potentially crippling bill. California farmers should contact their local agricultural trade association and ask what they can do to help ensure that this bill is vetoed.  We will keep you updated on the latest news with this bill. Contact the Saqui Law Group with any questions or concerns you may have regarding AB 1066.


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