Do Agricultural Workers Have the Right to Overtime Pay?
If you are an agricultural worker in California, you might wonder, What is an agricultural worker’s right to overtime pay? California is a leader in pushing for better protections for agricultural workers, and in 2016, the state signed the “Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act” into law. This law gradually changed the overtime rules for agricultural workers in California over four years, aiming for uniformity with other industries. In short, as of 2023, the Act mandates overtime pay for agricultural workers in California. The overtime pay rate currently differs depending on the number of people working for a company. However, the law aims to level the playing field entirely by 2025. Contact us today to speak to an experienced California overtime rate violations lawyer.
What Is an Agricultural Worker’s Right to Overtime Pay?
Until recently, overtime rules for agricultural workers in California differed from those in other industries. But thanks to a law called Assembly Bill 1066 (AB1066), California now ensures agricultural workers the equal right to overtime pay. The bill tackles the employment discrimination inherent in agricultural professions and recognizes that working overtime often physically damages agrarian laborers and interferes with their lives.
Though the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ensures that employers pay most working-class employees time-and-a-half for overtime, federal law still excludes agricultural employers and their employers from overtime pay. Conversely, in California, Wage Order 14 generally required overtime pay for all agricultural hours worked over 10 hours a day or more than six days a week. However, AB1066 changed California law by phasing in better overtime pay rates for California agricultural workers over four years starting in 2019.
As of January 2022, California agricultural workers must receive time-and-a-half pay if a company with 26 or more workers employs them and they work more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week in agriculture. These workers must receive double-time pay if they work more than 12 hours daily. As of January 2023, employees working for employers with 25 or fewer employees must receive time-and-a-half pay if they work more than nine hours a day and 50 hours a week in agriculture. This rate will increase yearly until January 2025, matching the overtime rates that employees working for larger companies receive.
What Occupations Does California Define as Agricultural Work?
Wage Order 14 defines agricultural workers. The Order includes agrarian employees preparing and treating farmland and caring for and harvesting crops. Agricultural workers also encompass employees involved in sheepherding, irrigation, and licensed crew members on commercial fishing vessels.
How Do I Ensure I Get California Agricultural Workers’ Overtime Pay?
California Wage Order 14 § 7(a)(5) requires employers to keep records of the appropriate pay rates for agricultural employees in each pay period. However, keeping track of all hours and the days you work is vital to ensure your employer pays you fairly. If you note a discrepancy and feel they are paying you unfairly, you can check your employer’s records against your documentation and bring it to your employer’s attention. If your employer continues to refuse you overtime pay, you can file a wage complaint for the compensation they owe you through California’s Department of Industrial Relations.
Labor laws can change over time, so staying updated on new developments is always a good idea. You can find reliable information about collecting overtime pay, changing regulations, and agricultural workers’ rights from organizations like the California Department of Industrial Relations, labor rights organizations, or from an experienced employment law attorney. Staying informed will help ensure you know your rights as an agricultural worker and how to protect them.
Bibiyan Law Group: Helping to Protect Agricultural Workers’ Overtime Pay
At Bibiyan Law Group, we know our way around labor codes and have the experience and skills to ensure that your employer abides by California’s complex agricultural workers’ laws. And we can explain these laws to you in plain terms, helping you understand your rights and options. If you are an agricultural worker and believe you’re entitled to unpaid overtime or have overtime questions, Bibiyan Law Group can help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. As skilled negotiators, we’re always ready to roll up our sleeves and go to battle, saving you time, money, and emotional energy. We also pride ourselves on providing every client with instrumental support and compassionate guidance throughout their legal journey. And, of course, in every case, we will work tirelessly to assure you the best possible resolution.
Whatever your employment concerns, whether it be overtime law violations or otherwise, Bibiyan Law Group can be your advocate every step of the way. If you need an employment law attorney, contact us at 310-438-5555 to book a free phone consultation. We’ve won millions of dollars for clients fighting unlawful employment practices and are not afraid to go to the mat to obtain the resolution you deserve.