Nicole Rice

Governor approves overtime expansion for farmworkers

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Sept. 16, 2016

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 1066 (Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego) that repeals the longstanding 10-hour daily overtime requirement for agricultural workers and requires growers to provide premium pay after the eighth hour of the day or after 40 hours in a week. While the Governor has until September 30 to act on bills approved by the Legislature before their end of the year recess, his approval of this controversial measure occurred much earlier in the signing process than opponents had hoped and with less fanfare than many may have thought.

The overtime mandate will be phased in over a four-year period beginning in 2019 with small growers having an extra three years before each phase increase is applicable to them. The bill also contains language that grants the Governor authority to temporarily halt the phase-in timeline if and when he suspends the incremental increase under the new minimum wage law.

CMTA opposed AB 1066 because of the negative cost impact the policy would have on those manufacturers for whom agriculture represents a significant portion of their customer base. These companies are the suppliers and consumers of the industry and work in concert with the California’s farming community to provide fresh and nutritious food products to the world. If the increased cost pressures of this policy force growers to reduce acreage farmed and subsequently cut employee hours to mitigate costs and maintain their competitiveness, then agriculturally-depended manufacturing and production operations would be similarly impacted given that what happens to their customers eventually trickles down to them.

California is one of five states that require the payment of any type of overtime to agricultural workers (the others are Hawaii, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota) and only California farmers are required to pay overtime daily.

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