January 30, 2019

California Labor Commissioner Provides Guidance on Agricultural Overtime Pay Schedule

The California Department of Industrial Relations released a statement regarding the agricultural overtime pay schedule that went into effect January 1. The law’s overtime pay requirements will be phased in according to the table below.


Effective date for employers with 26 or more employees

(“large companies”):


Effective date for employers with 25 or fewer employees

(“small companies”):

Overtime (1.5x regular rate of pay) required after the following hours per day/ hours per workweek:

Jan. 1, 2019

Jan. 1, 2022

9.5 / 55

Jan. 1, 2020

Jan. 1, 2023

9 / 50

Jan. 1, 2021

Jan. 1, 2024

8.5 / 45

Jan. 1 , 2022*

Jan. 1, 2025*

8 / 40

*Double the regular rate of pay required after 12 hours in a workday.

For the first year of the phase-in, agricultural workers at “large businesses” (those with 26 or more employees) earn overtime pay for all hours worked over 9.5 hours in a day or over 55 hours in a workweek. “Small employers” with 25 or fewer employees have an additional three years before the changes to daily and weekly overtime pay take effect.  It is important for large agricultural employers to ensure their payroll system is programmed to follow the new 55-hour weekly overtime rule.  Unlike the prior rule which required overtime be paid after the sixth day of work in a workweek, an agricultural employee working 9.5 hours each day for 6 days will work a total of 57 hours, thereby earning weekly overtime for two hours worked on the sixth day.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office has also posted answers to frequently asked questions regarding overtime for agricultural workers.

Agricultural workers are defined in Wage Order 14 and include employees who are engaged in the preparation and treatment of farmland as well as the care, harvesting and irrigation of crops.

Under the updated Wage Order 14, the new overtime provisions of AB 1066 apply to irrigators employed by a large employer beginning January 1, 2019.”  The overtime requirements of Wage Order 14 will apply to small employers beginning January 1, 2022.

Workers who do not receive proper overtime and other pay can file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office to begin the process to recover unpaid wages and penalties. Failure to pay proper overtime can result in a civil penalty of $50 per pay period for each underpaid employee, plus even greater civil damages.

As a reminder, employers must post the new Wage Order 14 in a conspicuous place at every establishment where employees are employed. Where the location of work or other conditions make this impractical, employers must keep a copy of the wage order and make it available to employees upon request.