Farm Labor Contractor Laws Reviewed at AgWISE 2015

Payroll Masters sponsored the 2015 AgWISE Symposium on January 22 and 23rd which was presented by AgSafe and the Napa Valley Grape Growers.

The English keynote speakers were The Director of Industrial Relations for the State of California Christine Baker and Juliann Sum, J.D., Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Spanish keynote speaker was Melissa Burkhart President of Futuro Solido USA.

Classes were offered in both English and Spanish. Two of the many topics of discussion were the new SB 1087 Law: Sexual Harassment Prevention for Farm Labor Contractors (FLC) and The Piece Rate Paradox.

Some key points from each of these classes.



  • The Farm Labor Contractor license holder must participate in at least 1 hour of sexual harassment prevention training each year.
  • FLCs must provide all workers, including supervisors with sexual harassment prevention training – workers at time of hire (at a minimum) and supervisors each year.
  • FLC staff may conduct the training for workers if they are an HR professional with at least 3 years of experience or have a high school diploma and have participated in the 2 hour AB 1825 compliant training.
  • Annual continuing education increased from 8 to 9 hours

Disclosures and License

  • Supervisors must complete a Supervisory Employee Sexual Harassment Disclosure Statement confirming that the supervisors has not been found by a court or administrative agency to have committed sexual harassment within the preceding 3 years. The statement can be found in English and Spanish at
  • FLC or FLC who employs a supervisor who has been found by a court or administrative agency to have committed sexual harassment within the preceding 3 years may have their license suspended, revoked or an application or renewal denied.


  • Fines increased to $10,000 and application fee increased to $600.


Presented by Paul Lynd Esq., Nixon Peobody LLP

  • Piece rate is fine in California as long as it equals or exceeds the minimum wage.
  • Section 4(A) of the wage orders requires pay at the minimum wage “for all hours worked”.

What time must be paid as “Hours Worked”

  • The time during which an employee is “subject to the control of an employer,” or “all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so”.
  • Time such as meeting time, training, controlled waiting time, preparation time at the start, cleaning up time at the end of the day, travel time between fields during the day and items taken home for work could have to be paid.
  • “Authorized rest period time shall be counted as hours worked for which there shall be no deduction from wages”.
    • Paid rest periods of at least 10 minutes.
    • Heat “recovery period” to cool down (CA Labor Code section 226.7(d)).

What should you do?

  • Evaluate whether you have any uncompensated time with piece rate or not.
  • Find a way to track and pay separately other time not covered by piece rate.
  • Pay hourly for all time, but pay piece rate on top as a bonus.
  • Make sure “bonus” included and “regular rate” recalculated for overtime.
  • Avoid overtime so no “regular rate” calculation is necessary.
  • Consider whether a “percentage bonus” may work to avoid having to recalculate regular rate.

These points just briefly touched on each of these topics discussed at AgWISE, should you have any questions please contact your employment law attorney.

The Cal/OSHA office has moved to American Canyon:

American Canyon District Office
Kathy Lynn Garner, District Manager
3419 Broadway Street, Suite H8
American Canyon, CA 94503
(707) 649-3700
(707) 649-3712 (Fax)

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