In typical Sacramento fashion, state legislators are once again proposing a solution in search of a problem. Assembly Bill 1066 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego), a gut-and-amend version of a previously defeated bill, would deny agricultural employees the ability to earn up to 10 hours of straight-time per day, for six days in a week, when weather and crop conditions allow it.
California is the only state to require daily and/or seventh-day overtime pay for agricultural employees. If AB 1066 becomes law, farmers and ranchers would have to cut hours of their workers.
The authors of this bill state this is about fairness and equity, but they fail to acknowledge that California allows different overtime standards for many occupations with special working conditions or seasonal schedules. California grants alternative overtime rules for occupations such as ambulance drivers, healthcare and certain hospital employees, camp counselors, ski-resort employees and others. AB 1066 singles out agriculture.
The bill’s authors hurt those who they are trying to help the most. Before proposing onerous regulations that take money out of the pockets of hard-working Valley residents, proponents should step outside the insulated walls of the Capitol and pay a visit to our farms.
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Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO