As we previously reported here, SB-1102 would have required, among other things, H-2A employers to compensate employees at their regular rate of pay for “time spent while being transported by the employer or its agents from the housing provided by the employer or its agents to the employer’s or agent’s worksite.” An altered version of SB 1102 was passed by the State legislature. On September 28, 2020, Governor Newsom vetoed the Bill. His veto message is available here.
The Governor’s comment did not specifically address the travel time issues related to the Bill, instead focusing on its additional disclosure requirements. The Governor said he “applauded the intent of the bill to create accessible and easy to understand notifications” regarding the Bill’s additional notice requirements to H-2A workers. The Governor did direct the Labor Workforce and Development Agency (“LWDA”) to create a template form as described in the Bill and “make it available to H-2A workers.” We will see what the LWDA does with that directive. The Notice provision in the Bill contained language stating H-2A employees must be paid at their regular rate of pay for transportation time “when the employee must take the transportation provided by the employer or agent,” which is already the law under Morillion v. Royal Packing. (Unless an employer requires employees to use its transportation, time employees spend on employer-provided transportation is NOT compensable.)
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
This remains a hot button issue for Plaintiffs’ lawyers and advocacy groups. If you have questions regarding travel time and when it must be compensated or best practices regarding establishment of a voluntary employer-transportation system, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.