CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL TO END AG OVERTIME EXEMPTION (AB2757) PASSES COMMITTEE

AB 2757 (Gonzalez), which seeks to repeal longstanding law allowing California Agriculture to pay overtime after 10 hours of work in a day passed the California Assembly’s Labor and Employment Committee on April 6, 2016.

Presently, Labor Code section 554 exempts agricultural employees from Labor Code provisions regarding wage and hour, meal break requirements and other working conditions.  Known as the Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, this bill would remove this exemption and would create a schedule that would phase-in overtime requirements for agricultural workers over the course of four years, beginning in 2017.  Under the proposed legislation, beginning July 1, 2017, agricultural workers would receive overtime for all work after nine and one-half hours daily or in excess of 55 hours in one workweek.  The thresholds for daily and weekly overtime would be further reduced each subsequent year until January 2020, at which point agricultural employees would receive overtime for work beyond eight hours daily or 40 hours weekly.

Obviously, California Agriculture should do everything it can to oppose this ill-thought legislation. Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC will continue to monitor AB 2757 and all other pending employment and labor law bills pending in the California Legislature.  Please call us at 559-421-7000 if you have any questions.

This bill will reduce the paychecks of thousands of agriculture workers.  This bill forces employers to cut 20 hours a week out of the agriculture workers check.  It also reduces their mandated sick pay hours to 24 (from 30) and most of these families will not be able to exist on this amount of pay.  This could mean the end of Agriculture in California.  If employees cannot feed their families they will move away.   If they go, there won’t be anyone to tend the animals and crops.  This is a bill that needs to see the light of day and have a vigorous voice from all Ag employers.  Do it today!!

California is Reaching into Your Pockets AGAIN – 6 weeks Paid Time Off

I may be jumping the gun a little on this one, but yesterday, the city council of San Francisco UNANIMOUSLY voted that employers with over 20 employees will be required to allow family leave AT FULL PAY for 6 weeks!!

California already has California Paid Family Leave Act in place.  It is run through the EDD and is similar to State Disability Insurance.  It is paid for through payroll deductions and the employee receives about 55% of their normal pay while they are “bonding” with the new baby.  Now, San Francisco wants every employer to make up the 45% difference so that the employee is receiving 100% of their normal pay.  They do not say where this mystery money is supposed to come from, but you can imagine higher costs for everything, again, and another reason NOT to go to San Francisco.

I bring this new law up now because as we are painfully aware, all of our State Leaders come from San Francisco with a couple from Los Angeles.  So, every time San Francisco does something like this, it ends up in Sacramento a few months later.  So don’t be surprised when we are discussing this on a State level within the year.

So let’s review…..

We are raising payroll by 50%, then requiring that you give people at least 3 free days a year called sick pay, then we mandate that you provide health insurance and now you have to pay someone 45% of their normal wages for 6 weeks of non- productive work time.  And economists will tell you this will have no effect on business…..which shows the quality of education in California universities.  But that is for another day.

UPDATE!!!!!!.

On Monday, Governor Brown signed a new addendum that increases the payout to people on Paid Family leave to 60%.  This benefit could, in the future also create a new classification of worker.  Under a new definition, if an employee is earning below the poverty line they could fall into this new classification and be eligible for increased State funding for a variety of payouts.  This could mean that they would receive 70% of normal pay while other employee would only receive 60% for the same Paid Family Leave.  This could be extended to Unemployment Benefits, State Disability Pay and even employer covered expenses such as temporary disability under worker’s compensation benefits.  The costs to tax payers and employers just keep surging with no end in sight.