Landmark Bill Gives Farmworkers Greater Share

On Monday in a historic move, the California Legislature voted in favor of new overtime laws for farmworkers. If Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, those who tend and harvest our state’s plentiful and diverse bounty will receive overtime pay just like all other workers in the state. The bill proposes time-and-a-half pay for farm laborers who exceed eight hours in one day.

“We salute the legislature for their support of AB 1066, which ends the longtime exclusion of farmworkers from just basic overtime laws,” says Christopher Paige, Chief Executive Officer for California Human Development.

Paige acknowledges concerns among some who fear the change will result in cut backs and job loss, but says any such shift will be temporary and the inequities faced by California’s vast and impoverished farm workforce are long overdue for change.

“Every other industry in our state has adjusted to standard overtime rules and the farming industry will adjust as well,” says Paige.  “I believe it’s the right thing to do and a good thing for everyone concerned. Ultimately, a strong labor force is key to good business.”

California Human Development (CHD) provides farmworker services and workforce development serving people from 31 northern California counties. On average, farm laborers earn far below the poverty level. CHD helps these workers to secure full-time year-round employment to achieve greater self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.