May 6, 2021

CA Bill That Changes Law for H-2A Workers Heads to Senate

AB 857, a California bill that would change the law by expanding the definition of “voluntary” and “mandated” travel time, passed off the Assembly Floor today and now heads to the Senate.

AB 857 attempts to:

  • add new situations whereby travel time would be required to be paid to H-2A employees;
  • go well beyond existing court decisions by requiring that the travel time be paid at the regular rate of pay; and
  • require employers to provide redundant information to employees, creating potential liability when the employer provides the information in one notice, but not another.

This bill significantly mirrors SB 1102 (Monning) which was vetoed by Governor Newsom late last year. In his veto message, the Governor directed the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to develop and maintain the employee notification template contemplated in SB 1102 since it is a process that can more readily take into consideration changes in H-2A governing law and any future court decisions. Western Growers strongly believes that the Governor’s direction outlined in the veto message should proceed without the interference of AB 857.

Though AB 857 passed the Assembly Floor, it was only confirmed by a narrow margin thanks in large part to the WG members and other industry partners who took action by reaching out to their respective legislators and voicing their opposition to the bill.

Stay tuned to our Spotlight newsletter for additional updates about AB 857. For more information, contact Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435.