Paul Wellman (file)

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill this week that will require employers to pay overtime to farmworkers who work more than 40 hours in a week or over eight hours in a day. As many as 18,000 ag workers live in Santa Barbara County.

Area proponents, such as CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy), argued this bill closes a loophole in overtime pay, as nearly every other hourly job has the same benefit. Opponents, including many of the county’s farmers, charged the law will merely force farmers to hire more workers — rather than pay existing farmworkers for long days. The law will phase in from 2019 to 2022 (for farms with more than 25 employees) and from 2019 to 2025 for smaller farms (with less than 25 employees).

Brown also vetoed a bill that would repeal sales tax for both diapers and hygiene products, saying tax breaks are the same as new spending.


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