If passed, eligible workers would receive overtime pay
By Diego Flammini
A new piece of legislation could have implications for farm businesses.
Yesterday, California Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris reintroduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act. She first introduced the bill in June 2018.
The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and “require time-and-a-half overtime pay for all agricultural workers, with additional compliance time for small farms,” the legislation says.
Overtime would begin after 40 hours per week and apply to employees in several ag sectors including hand harvest laborers, and those involved in transportation and irrigation projects.
The bill’s rules wouldn’t apply to family farms where employees are immediate family members.
Requirements would be phased in over four years beginning in 2019. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would have three years to comply.
Implementing these rule changes creates a fair work environment for ag employees, Harris said.
“It is absolutely unconscionable that many farm workers – people who often work over 12 hours a day in the hot sun – do not receive overtime pay for the hard work they do to put food on the tables of American families,” she said in a statement yesterday.
More than 160 community organizations like the National Farm Worker Ministry and United Farm Workers support the bill.
“It is no longer acceptable in 2019 for any farm worker to be denied the right to overtime pay,” Teresa Romero, president of United Farm Workers, said in a statement yesterday. “No matter how long or hard he or she toils (and) no matter the bounty of food he or she produces.”
Farms.com has reached out to the American Farm Bureau Federation for comment.