Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1102 (Monning) which would have changed California labor law by requiring employers to compensate H-2A employees at their regular rate of pay for voluntary travel to and from employer-provided housing and the job site. The bill would also have led to increased daily and weekly overtime pay because of the addition of such transportation time. SB 1102 would have undoubtedly resulted in higher labor costs for H-2A employers.
In his veto message, the Governor did not specifically address the travel time issues related to the bill. Instead, he focused on the bill’s disclosure requirements and directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to develop and make available a disclosure template outlining state and federally provided worker protection rights.
California Citrus Mutual staff along with other agricultural associations engaged with the Governor’s office to secure a veto. We explained the complexities around H2A and voluntary travel including pending litigation. We also emphasized that none of these issues were vetted in a policy hearing in the legislature. We committed to working with the administration and the legislature on workable solutions for agriculture and our H2A employees if he did indeed veto the bill.
While we have a reprieve with the veto of SB 1102, we encourage all H2A employers to stay up to date on travel time rules and case law. The California Supreme Court ruled in Morillion v Royal Packing that unless an employer requires employees to use its transportation, time employees spend on employer-provided transportation is not compensable.
If you have questions regarding travel time and when it must be compensated or best practices regarding establishment of a voluntary employer-transportation system, we encourage you to contact a qualified labor attorney.
CCM members receive one free hour of consultation with the labor law experts at The Saqui Law Group. Contact The Saqui Law Group Division at (916) 782-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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