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Sen. Harris Introduces Farm Worker Bill new piece of legislation could have implications for farm businesses.

Yesterday, California Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris reintroduced the Fairness for Farm Workers Act. She first introduced the bill in June 2018.

The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and “require time-and-a-half overtime pay for all agricultural workers, with additional compliance time for small farms,” the legislation says.

Overtime would begin after 40 hours per week and apply to employees in several ag sectors including hand harvest laborers, and those involved in transportation and irrigation projects.

The bill’s rules wouldn’t apply to family farms where employees are immediate family members.

Requirements would be phased in over four years beginning in 2019. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would have three years to comply.

Implementing these rule changes creates a fair work environment for ag employees, Harris said.

“It is absolutely unconscionable that many farm workers – people who often work over 12 hours a day in the hot sun – do not receive overtime pay for the hard work they do to put food on the tables of American families,” she said in a statement yesterday.

More than 160 community organizations like the National Farm Worker Ministry and United Farm Workers support the bill.

“It is no longer acceptable in 2019 for any farm worker to be denied the right to overtime pay,” Teresa Romero, president of United Farm Workers, said in a statement yesterday. “No matter how long or hard he or she toils (and) no matter the bounty of food he or she produces.” has reached out to the American Farm Bureau Federation for comment.

Reader Comments
Comments posted do not express the viewpoint of Dairy Agenda Today or its staff members.

Ron Flatness
February, 17 2019
Sure pay them more.Then the consumer will by their fruits and veggies from foreign countries where they don't have they high labor costs and high regard for sanitations. Then when people die....they can thanK Sen. "never to be Pres". Kamala Harris.
D Brinkmeier
February, 11 2019
Where is our over time pay for the hours the families that work their farms. Isn't their time worth as much. We need a fair price for the product we produce to.
February, 11 2019
Theresa Romero and people like her should buy up these farms and then pay all employees at least 20 dollars an hour. It would only be fair. These workers are struggling.