What Is the Average Wage for Farm Workers in California

Farm work is difficult, and agricultural employees should ensure that their employers adequately pay them. The average wage for farm workers in California varies by the characteristics of the worker and the kind of farming work they do. There are also several laws that require agricultural employers to pay their workers a minimum wage. In this article, we review the wages you can expect when you perform farm work in California and what you should do if your boss fails to comply with federal and state wage laws. And if your employer has broken the law, Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., can help you recover the compensation you deserve, just as we have helped mistreated workers throughout California. Reach out to speak to a Los Angeles migrant worker attorney today!

California Farm Workers’ Average Wage

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the average hourly wage for farm workers in California is $22.70, and the average yearly pay is $47,210. Naturally, some agricultural workers earn less than this, while others earn more. For instance, the national average pay for agricultural workers in local government is $27.27 per hour, while the average for employees involved in support activities for crop production is $16.24 per hour. 

Rights to Minimum Wage

While the range for payment in the farming business is wide, farm workers must receive at least minimum wage. The general minimum wage for farm workers in California is $15.50 per hour. However, an employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage can be greater depending on the city or county it is in. For instance, employees in Mountain View, California, must be paid at least $18.15 per hour.

Rights to Overtime Pay

In addition to minimum wage, farm workers must receive overtime pay for their overtime work. The typical California employee must receive overtime payments when they work more than 40 hours in a week, more than eight hours in a day, or more than six consecutive days in a week, but farm workers’ rights to overtime can be a little different. 

Starting January 1, 2022, agricultural employers with at least 26 employees must pay farm workers 1.5 times their regular pay rate when they work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. And employers with this size of workforce must pay farm workers twice their regular rate if they work more than 12 hours in a day. Beginning January 1, 2023, employers with fewer than 26 employees must pay agricultural workers who work more than 50 hours in a week or nine hours in a day 1.5 times their pay rate. However, employers with fewer than 26 employees have no obligation to pay twice the rate for agricultural employees who work more than 12 hours in a day. 

Farm workers’ rights to overtime are set to increase in 2024 and 2025. So workers should keep an eye on their paychecks and consult with an experienced wage and hour attorney if they do not see changes in their pay in the coming years. 

Average Wage for H-2A Workers in California

Federal immigration laws allow employers to bring in individuals from other countries to perform agricultural work. Farm workers who enter the country this way come in on H-2A visas, and H-2A workers could see the same average pay range as other farm workers, but their employers have different obligations regarding minimum wage payment. H-2A workers must receive at least the highest of what is called the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). Currently, the AEWR in California is $18.65 per hour, which is the highest rate out of all the states. 

When an Employer Breaks a Wage Law

Unfortunately, there are several employers who are either ignorant of their wage payment obligations or willfully neglect to pay their farm workers enough. When an employer refuses or fails to pay you what you are entitled to receive under the law, you can file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office or the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. In a wage complaint, you can recoup the wages you weren’t paid, and you might be entitled to additional penalty payments from your employer. To maximize your recovery in a wage claim, you should contact a knowledgeable LA employment attorney as soon as possible. 

Bibiyan Law Group Is Ready to Fight for You

Our attorneys at Bibiyan Law Group are dedicated to championing workers’ rights in California. And not only are we passionate about advocating for mistreated employees, but we also have decades of combined experience in doing this work. Your employer has to give you sufficient pay, and we are here to make sure you get it. For solid legal guidance, contact us online or call us at 310-438-5555. Hablamos Español.

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David Bibiyan is a distinguished attorney at Tomorrow Law, renowned for his expertise in employment law. With a strong focus on representing employees in various workplace disputes, he has become a trusted advocate for those facing discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues. Bibiyan’s approach is characterized by a deep understanding of both state and federal employment laws, ensuring that his clients receive knowledgeable and effective representation. His commitment to justice is evident in his dedication to each case, where he meticulously works to secure the best possible outcomes for his clients. Bibiyan’s reputation is built on a foundation of successful case resolutions, marked by his skillful negotiation and, when necessary, aggressive litigation strategies. His work at Tomorrow Law reflects a genuine passion for defending workers’ rights and promoting fair employment practices.

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