California Agricultural Workers Getting Overtime

California agricultural workers will soon become the first in the county to receive overtime pay on the same terms as other hourly employees. Like most states, California law requires most hourly employees to be paid time and one-half their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of a 8 hours in one workday or 40 hours in a workweek. Currently, California agricultural employees are exempt from these requirements. However, California Governor Brown recently signed legislation (AB 1066) that will soon allow agricultural employees to earn time and a half after 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

The new overtime requirements will be phased in over the course of 4 years, from 2019 to 2022. The overtime rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay applies beginning:

  • January 1, 2019 – more than 9.5 hours in a workday or 55 hours in a workweek
  • January 1, 2020 – more than 9 hours in a workday or 50 hours in a workweek
  • January 1, 2021 – more than 8.5 hours in a workday or 45 hours in a workweek
  • January 1, 2022 – more than 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek

Also beginning January 1, 2022, an overtime rate of twice the employee’s regular rate of pay applies to time worked in excess of 12 hours in one day. Further, starting January 1, 2019, when an employee works seven days in a row, the overtime rate is 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for the first 8 hours of the seventh workday, and twice the employee’s regular rate for time worked in excess of 8 hours.

Employers with 25 or fewer employees have 3 additional years from each phase-in date to pay workers overtime rates.

Currently, California Wage Order No. 14 requires agriculture employees to be paid overtime after 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in week. Wage Order 14 will be updated to be consistent with the new provisions of law. Employers are advised that all California Wage Orders will be updated later this year to reflect the state’s new minimum wage rate going into effect Jan 1. 2017.

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