The Sacramento Bee reports an expansion of overtime rules for farmworkers was passed in the California Assembly and has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
Farmworkers are entitled to extra wages if they work more than 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week with current California law, The Bee reports.
The expansion in AB 1066 calls for time-and-a-half pay for working more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week, and double pay for more than 12 hours in a day. The expansion calls for these wage changes advance incrementally over four years, and could be suspended in economic troubles.
Allied associations reacted to the passing of AB 1066:
“The passage of AB 1066 today was incredibly disappointing,” said Lodi-area winegrape grower Brad Goehring. “Today’s vote overturns long-established law that provided overtime wages for farmworkers, which combined with escalating minimum wage rates, means farmworkers will take home smaller paychecks than under current law. This is a classic case of good intentions gone awry.”
“We hope Gov. Brown will reject AB 1066 and preserve the state’s current progressive policy on overtime wages for farmworkers,” Tyler Blackney, Director of Government Relations for California Association of Winegrape Growers, said.
“Employers in all industries intentionally manage overtime costs, which are generally reserved for anomalies in the work day or work week,” Tom Nassif, CEO and President of Western Growers, said. “Agriculture is a seasonal industry with limited opportunities for farmworkers to earn full paychecks during peak harvest. While AB 1066 claims to protect agricultural employees, this short-sighted policy will have the opposite effect, reducing the number of hours available to (and earnings potential of) farmworkers.”
Nassif said the legislation, coupled with the recently enacted $15/hour minimum wage in California, threatens the earnings potential and jobs of farmworkers, as well as ag production throughout the state.