Ag overtime wages begin in phases

Employers with 26 or more employees are required to pay overtime after nine hours of work starting Jan. 1

The Sun-Gazette

CALIFORNIA – Agricultural labor got a little more expensive after the first of the year. 

Employers with 26 or more employees must pay overtime, effective Jan. 1, 2020, after nine hours of work. Small employers with 25 or fewer employees can still pay straight wages for workdays that are 10 hours or less, or workweeks that are 60 hours or less. According to the Saqui Law Group small employers with 25 or less employees will be effected beginning Jan. 1, 2022 at which point they will be required to pay overtime for workdays greater than 9.5 or workweeks over 55 hours.

The changes in overtime come as a phase from California’s Assembly Bill 1066, passed in 2016. The timetable created by AB 1066 gradually changes overtime rules in order to align California Wage Order 14 overtime to be paid on the same basis as most other industries.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, agricultural workers were entitled to all statutory protections in the working hours and overtime requirements in Labor Code sections 500 through 556, and Labor Code section 558.1, from which they were previously excluded. 

This means that certain rights of agricultural employees and obligations of agricultural employers are now specifically set forth in the labor code, in addition to the protections available under the applicable wage order. This includes, for example, standards regarding meal periods, alternative workweek schedules, make-up work time, the collective bargaining agreement exemption, the one day’s rest in seven requirement and the administrative, executive, or professional overtime exemption standard.

Agricultural employees are also generally entitled to time and one-half pay for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work, and double-time pay for all work performed in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work. These protections from Wage Order 14 (Agricultural Employers) continue to apply, consistent with Labor Code section 510, regardless of employer size.

Agricultural workers are defined in Wage Order 14 and include employees engaged in the preparation and treatment of farmland as well as the care and harvesting of crops. Agricultural workers include employees engaged in shepherding, irrigation and licensed crew members on commercial fishing vessels.

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