New OT rules kick in for agricultural workers on New Year’s Day

For decades, farmworkers in California were excluded from most state and federal wage and hour laws requiring employers to pay overtime for time worked exceeding 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. Since 1976, agricultural employers were only required to pay OT to those working more than 10 hours a day or 60 per week.

That changed in 2019 when Assembly Bill 1066 went into effect. Starting on Jan. 1, 2019, a new timetable began for overtime rules affecting farmworkers. The changes are being phased-in until they receive roughly the same treatment for overtime pay as workers in most other professions.

The law only applies to larger employers for now

So far, the law has only affected agricultural companies with 26 or more workers. In 2019 those employers were required to pay time-and-a-half overtime to those working more than 9.5 hours per day and 55 hours per week. Last year, that changed to nine hours per day and 50 per week. The final two years of the transition look like this:

  • 2021: OT must be paid for hours worked above 8.5 per day and 45 hours per week.
  • 2022: The thresholds change to eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

Changes coming for smaller employers

Agricultural employers with 25 or fewer workers only have one more year to prepare for the same requirements. As with the larger employers, the changes will be phased-in starting each year on Jan. 1:

  • 2022: OT paid for hours worked above 9.5 per day and 55 per week.
  • 2023: OT paid for hours worked above nine per day and 50 per week.
  • 2024: OT paid for hours worked above 8.5 per day and 45 per week.
  • 2025: OT paid for hours worked above eight per day and 40 per week.

Once all farmworkers are entitled to receive time-and-a-half OT for working more than eight hours per day and 40 per week, employers must pay double-time for anyone working more than 12 hours per day. That will happen as of Jan. 1, 2022, for employers with more than 26 workers, but not until 2025 for smaller employers.

Wage and hour violations are common in the Golden State

The U.S. Department of Labor says nearly 80% of all U.S. employers do not comply with wage and hour laws. If your employer refuses to follow the law, an experienced wage and hour attorney can help you receive what you deserve. Your attorney will investigate your claim and take action, which could include filing a lawsuit.

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