Most workers in California are entitled to overtime at a rate of at least 1.5 times their regular pay when they work more than eight hours in a workday, but agricultural workers in California have not always enjoyed the same rights. That changed in 2016 when California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 1066, which gradually phases in overtime pay for farm workers.
Overtime rates for agricultural workers
The wage and hour law gave employers with small workforces more time to implement the new rules. Companies with more than 25 agricultural workers started to phase in overtime pay in January 2019, but employers with 25 or fewer farm workers were not required to pay overtime until January 2022. As of January 2023, smaller employers are required to pay agricultural workers overtime when they work more than nine and a half hours in a workday or 50 hours in a workweek.
Parity with workers in other industries
Farm workers employed by large agricultural companies have been paid overtime in the same way as workers in other industries since January 2022, and they receive double their regular rate of pay when they work 12 or more hours during a workday. Agricultural workers employed by smaller companies will not receive the same protections until January 2025.
Protecting vulnerable workers
Assembly Bill 1066 was passed to make sure that workers in the agricultural industry are not taken advantage of and enjoy the same workplace protections that employees in other fields take for granted. This was a needed law, but it will only have the impact lawmakers hope for if it is enforced strictly. If enforcement is lax or investigators are denied the resources they need, farm workers in California will continue to be exploited.
If you have questions about unpaid overtime or other wage and hour issues, please see our Unpaid Overtime Overview.