Bill to Expand Overtime Pay for California’s Farm Workers

AB 1066, the Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, is a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would set new overtime pay requirements for California farm workers.

The bill is sponsored by United Farm Workers (UFW), which argues that farm workers are unfairly excluded from federal wage protections and maximum hour standards. According to bill supporters, farm workers do not receive fair pay and yet have one of the most physically demanding occupations.

Many agricultural groups oppose the bill, including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. Those opposed to the bill argue that agriculture requires more flexibility in scheduling and pay than other occupations because it is subject to seasonal fluctuations and unpredictable conditions. Opponents point to existing regulation of agricultural workers that includes overtime pay for working over 10 hours in a workday. Opponents also argue that the bill would result in additional costs that would in turn harm agricultural workers’ overall pay.

CCOF has not taken a position on this bill. If you would like to weigh in, you should contact your representative or the Governor’s office. The final legislative vote (a vote by the full California Assembly) will take place by August 31, 2016. If the Assembly passes the bill, then Governor Jerry Brown will decide whether to sign it into law no later than September 30, 2016.

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