July 15, 2022

Labor Commissioner Sends Warning Letter to All FLCs

The California Labor Commissioner recently sent a letter to all California-licensed farm labor contractors advising that the Department of Industrial Relations has received multiple complaints regarding FLCs failing to comply with California’s 2022 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law (“2022 SPSL”). According to the letter, employees are being told they must work a minimum length of time or provide medical documentation before they can utilize 2022 SPSL.  The 2022 SPSL does not impose a minimum work requirement and employers generally may not require medical documentation before 2022 SPSL is used. Employees are also reporting retaliation after complaining about 2022 SPSL noncompliance.

The letter goes on to say that DIR has also received multiple complaints about employees being retaliated against for complaining about unsafe working conditions amid persistently high daytime temperatures. As a reminder, employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to work during a recovery period, which is a cooldown period provided to employees to prevent heat illness. Employees that are not afforded a mandated recovery period are entitled to one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay (which may be higher than the hourly rate of pay).

Finally, the letter warns that FLC licenses can be revoked, suspended, or refused for failure to comply with California law plus civil penalties can be issued including misdemeanors punishable by a fine or imprisonment.