Question:
I own a small family farm. We employ seasonal workers and I am wondering if this new overtime law will apply to our seasonal employees?
Answer: On September 12, 2016 Governor Brown signed a significant new law affecting the agricultural industry, including small farms. Assembly Bill 1066 mandates payment of overtime for “agricultural workers.” Wage Order 14 provides a lengthy definition of “agricultural workers,” but they are essentially workers who prepare farmland, sow, plant, care for, harvest, and load agricultural commodities, and those who feed and manage livestock, harvest fish, and improve or maintain a farm, its tools, and equipment. There is no overtime exemption under Wage Order 14 or AB 1066 for small employers; however if you are an individual, sole proprietorship, or partnership employing a parent, spouse, or child (including an adopted child), the new overtime provisions will not apply to them.
Currently, the overtime laws are less generous to agricultural workers than to employees in other industries. Agricultural workers receive overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half if they work more than 10 hours in a workday or more than 60 hours in a workweek, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work. They only receive double time if they work more than eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in the workweek. By comparison, workers in most industries are paid overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half if they work more than 8 hours in a workday or more than 40 hours in a workweek, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work. Workers in other industries generally receive double time for all hours worked in excess of 12 in a workday, and for all hours worked over eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in the workweek.
AB 1066 provides that agricultural workers will be paid overtime on the same basis as employees in other industries. The new overtime requirements will be phased in with the schedule varying for employers with 25 or fewer employees as compared to those with more than 25 employees.
The following is the schedule:
January 1, 2019 (more than 25 employees)
January 1, 2022 (25 or fewer employees)
o Time-and-a-half for over 9.5 hours in a workday
o Time-and-a-half for over 55 hours in a workweek
January 1, 2020 (more than 25 employees)
January 1, 2023 (25 or fewer employees)
o Time-and-a-half for over 9 hours in a workday
o Time-and-a-half for over 50 hours in a workweek
January 1, 2021 (more than 25 employees)
January 1, 2024 (25 or fewer employees)
o Time-and-a-half for over 8.5 hours in a workday
o Time-and-a-half for over 45 hours in a workday
January 1, 2022 (more than 25 employees)
January 1, 2025 (25 or fewer employees)
o Time-and-a-half for over 8 hours in a workday
o Time-and-a-half for over 40 hours in a workweek
o Double time for over 12 hours in a workday
Agricultural employees who work more than five hours in a workday must be provided 30-minute unpaid duty-free meal periods that must begin by the end of the fifth hour of work, a paid 10-minute duty-free rest period for every four hours worked (or major fraction thereof), and heat recovery rest periods as needed.
The text of AB 1066 is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1066.