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Do California agricultural employees qualify for overtime wages?

The agricultural industry is thriving in San Diego. Did you know that it contributes about $2.88 billion to our local economy? It is also one of the nation’s largest agricultural hubs.

Unfortunately, those who work in agriculture have not always been treated well by their employers. For example, at one time, few of these workers received fair wages for the many hours of overtime they put in each week.

California has a plan to protect agriculture wages

Thanks to new wage and hour laws, agricultural workers have a chance to receive overtime wages comparable to what most other industries pay. Several years ago, lawmakers created a plan to gradually modify how much such workers get paid for the overtime they contribute.

Employees in large industries (with at least 26 employees) will receive overtime at a rate of 1.5 times their regular pay for:

  •         Any time worked beyond eight hours per day
  •         Any time worked beyond 40 hours per week

They are entitled to double their hourly rate for time worked beyond 12 hours in a workday.

Unfortunately, workers in smaller operations (fewer than 25 employees) must wait until 2025 before receiving the same overtime pay rate.

Remember that agriculture includes industries other than growing fruits and vegetables. Examples of other agricultural occupations impacted by these laws include:

  •         Sheepherding
  •         Commercial fishing operations
  •         Irrigation industries

If your employer refuses to pay you overtime or claims you are ineligible, you may need assistance getting the wages you are entitled to receive. We recommend staying informed about the most current wage and hour laws covering agricultural employment. Seeking legal guidance can also help you find a solution.


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