July 1, 2016

Superior Court Ruling Extends Piece-rate Safe Harbor Sign-up to July 18

Late yesterday, June 30th, a superior court in Fresno issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) extending the deadline to sign up for the so-called “safe harbor” provisions of AB 1513 (Labor Code sec. 226.2(b)(3)) to July 18, 2016. The Order also states that if the court ultimately decides NOT to issue a preliminary injunction at the next hearing on July 18, the July 1 safe harbor filing deadline will be extended July 28th. The order was issued in the case of Nisei Farmers League v. California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, et al.

The TRO allows WG members who have not already signed up by today’s deadline the opportunity to sign up by July 18. The extension also allows the court additional time to consider whether or not to issue a preliminary or permanent injunction, which would place the entire “safe harbor” scheme in doubt. But, if no injunction is issued on July 18, then the sign-up deadline becomes July 28. Despite issuing the TRO, it does not follow that the court will take the next step and issue a preliminary injunction to further halt the safe harbor. 

At the upcoming preliminary injunction hearing on July 18, the court will consider whether the state of California will be enjoined from enforcing: (1) the July 1, 2016, deadline to sign up for the “safe harbor” provision; (2) the December 15, 2016, back payment deadline under Section 226.2(b)(4), thereby extending the deadline until 197 days after the preliminary injunction expires; and (3) any requirements in sec. 226.2 dependent on the phrases “other non-productive time” or “directly related,” terms the plaintiff alleges are not adequately defined by section 226.2.

In the meantime, Western Growers members are advised to continue paying “other non-productive time” and rest/recovery periods in accordance with Labor Code sec. 226.2.

Western Growers will continue to keep members informed of any developments.