California Farmworkers Become Eligible for Overtime

California Farmworkers Become Eligible for Overtime



CALIFORNIA - New Year, new you—new wage schedule? January 1st marked a propitious start of the new year for California’s farm laborers who, staring New Year’s Day, will now be eligible for more robust overtime pay.

The result of legislation signed into law in 2106, this first-of-its kind rule finally came into effect this month, according to a report by Capital Public Radio. Companies that employ more than 26 people will now be required to pay overtime to farmworkers who work more than 9.5 hours a day or 55 hours a week.

Previous California regulations required employers to pay farmworkers overtime after working 60 hours in a week or 10 hours in a day.

Companies that employ more than 26 people will now be required to pay overtime to farmworkers who work more than 9.5 hours a day or 55 hours a week

This new change in law is the first phase of a two-phase process. In 2022, the next phase of the law will come into play—requiring California’s farm laborers to be paid double time for working more than 12 hours in a day.

These new laws may compound labor costs for farmers, many of whom will also have to absorb an increase in statewide minimum wage—which was raised from $11.00 an hour to $12.00 on the first of the year.

How will increased wages affect our industry? It’s unclear according to Philip Martin, UC Davis Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Economics, who told Capital Public Radio that there is very little reliable data on farmworkers’ hours.

Philip Martin, Emeritus Professor of Agriculture Economics, UC Davis

“They may opt to pay overtime for workers they’ve already trained to use expensive equipment, rather than trying to hire additional workers and implementing shorter shifts to avoid overtime,” Martin told the news source, noting that new overtime regulations may largely effect large-scale agricultural operations who employ dairy workers, irrigators, and equipment operators.

AndNowUKnow will continue to report with updates.