California Lawmakers Adopt Overtime Laws for Farmers

August 31, 2016 02:48 PM

California Governor Jerry Brown is set to make another first for his state, requiring farmers pay overtime to field workers and fruit pickers.

The state legislature approved the bill, and it would phase in overtime pay for any farmworker who works more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

California employers are already mandated to pay time-and-a-half to farmworkers after 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week.

Those who oppose the bill say added costs will require employers to cut workers’ hours.

Others say this will leave an impact on agribusiness in the state, paired with an expected hike in the minimum wage.

“The fact of the matter is we come from a global economy,” said Simon VanderWoude, a dairy owner in Merced, Calif. “We compete with dairymen from the midwest, New Zealand, and Europe. If the price of labor becomes so extensive in our budgets, then that puts us at an economic disadvantage as we compete with others from around the world.”

If the bill becomes law, it would phase in over four years, beginning in 2019.

There is no word yet if Gov. Brown will sign the measure.

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