Proposal Leading to Higher Food Costs Moves to Senate Floor

A California Chamber of Commerce opposed “job killer” bill that will increase food costs for consumers has moved to the Senate floor. AB 1313 (Allen; D-Santa Rosa) drives up the cost of commodities to consumers by removing the existing overtime exemption allowed for agricultural employers.

After passing the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, AB 1313 was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Appropriations sent the bill on for a vote by the full Senate in accordance with a Senate rule that requires such action for a bill that does not appropriate money and is determined by the committee chair not to result in either signifi cant additional state costs or a significant reduction in state revenues.

AB 1313 imposes costly new mandates on California farmers that will limit their ability to maintain their operations and will place them at a competitive disadvantage.

Given the seasonal and unique nature of agriculture production, farmers are exempted under both state and federal law from the eight-hour workday so as to provide farmers with greater flexibility with scheduling employees.

Currently, farmers are required to pay overtime to their employees after 10 hours of work in any workday or after six days of work in any workweek.

AB 1313 would remove this exemption and force farmers to pay overtime rates to agricultural employees after eight hours of work in any workday or 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Removal of this exemption will significantly increase farmers’ cost of doing business.