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Day of Rest Requirements Applicable to Ag on 1/1/17

Bryan Little, Farm Employers Labor Service

January 5, 2017

In addition to the AB 1066 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) repeal of agriculture's long-standing 10-hour straight-time workday and the gradual imposition of an 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek for agricultural employees, AB 1066 contained another change that has not yet attracted much attention: it applies to agricultural employment for the first time the one-day's-rest-in-seven rule, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The law that will apply to agricultural employment prohibits an employer from "causing" an employee to work more than six days in seven.

The California Supreme Court should soon decide in Mendoza v. Nordstrom exactly what "cause" means in this context: is it enough to merely let employees work on the seventh day, or must an employer compel employees to work on the seventh day to be causing them to work? As soon as the court decides, FELS will alert you.

The day-of-rest provision in Labor Code section 554 that will apply to agricultural employees on Jan. 1 does permit an employer to have them work seven or more consecutive days "when the nature of the employment reasonably requires that the employee work seven or more consecutive days, if in each calendar month the employee receives days of rest equivalent to one day's rest in seven."