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California is the First State that Pays Overtime for Farmers
September 14, 2016

California will become the first U.S. state to require farmers to pay overtime to field workers, milkers, feedlot cowboys and fruit pickers under a bill signed on Monday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. 
The bill would phase in overtime pay for farmworkers from 2019 to 2022. In an industry where a work week during the harvest season can be as long as 60 hours, the measure requires farmers to pay overtime after eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.

According to Reuters, the new law ends an exemption meant to benefit farmers during the Depression-era implementation of the nation’s first wage and hour laws.

It will make California the first state to require overtime for farmworkers who work more than eight hours per day. Under a 1970s executive action, farmworkers in the state get overtime after a 60 hour week or a 10-hour day, leading to long, backbreaking shifts and six-day work weeks.

California employs an estimated 800,000 seasonal farmworkers, about a third of the agricultural industry’s nationwide workforce, according to the University of California report. Its agricultural economy is the largest in the United States, with $47 billion in revenue last year, according to state data.




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