The California Assembly is considering SB 1102 (Monning, D-Carmel), which would dramatically change the CA Labor Code by requiring employers to compensate H-2A employees at their regular rate of pay for time spent traveling between employer-provided housing and a worksite.
Importantly, SB 1102 attempts to change the law by ignoring the definition of “voluntary” and “mandated” travel time, as decided by the California Supreme Court in Morillion v. Royal Packing (2000). Over the past couple of years, farmworker plaintiffs have filed and lost numerous lawsuits seeking recovery for travel time. Now, having been unsuccessful in the Courts, CRLA and UFW are attempting to change the law through SB 1102.
Under the bill, transportation would be included as compensable daily work time and be counted against overtime limits. Consequently, piece-rate employees who exceed the current daily maximum of 9 hours of work because of such travel time would have to be paid at the daily overtime rate based on the employee’s average hourly piece-rate.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the availability of a domestic workforce, employers must have the option to recruit foreign workers. However, SB 1102 would make the H-2A program cost-prohibitive and unworkable.
Additionally, SB 1102 sets a precedent for future mandates on the compensability of travel time for domestic workers.
Take action by urging the Assembly to oppose SB 1102 and reject this significant change to the California Labor Code!