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FELS Publishes AB 1513 Piece-rate Wage Resources

NEW!:  Employees seeking payment of back wages from the Unclaimed Wages Fund (UWF) can claim those wages through the procedure described in this document provided by the Department of Industrial Relations.

FELS has published frequently asked questions (FAQs) about AB 1513, legislation passed in 2015 that became effective on January 1, 2016.  AB 1513 established minimum standards for compensation of rest and recovery time during periods when employees are compensated on a piece-rate basis, and for compensation of time during which employees are not producing income-generating pieces due to the employer's actions or directions (for example, during safety trainings).  AB 1513 also provided an optional "safe harbor" under which an employer who may not have compensated piece-rate employees as required by the Bluford and Gonzales court decisions from 2013 may obtain an affirmative defense against any related civil claim by paying employees back wages according to one of two methods specified by AB 1513.

Both the rules for piece-rate compensation as of January 1, 2016 and the "safe harbor" rules have proved to be complicated and confusing to many employers.  The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Department of Industrial Relations (DLSE) has provided useful guidance, but questions have continued.

For farm employers preparing letters to employees to whom they are making back-wage payments tp purchase the protection of AB 1513's safe harbor, the following language tracks closely with Labor Code Section 226.2, subdivision (b)(5), which specifies the safe-harbor back wage payment procedure:

Pursuant to Labor Code section 226.2, XXXXXX is making the [enclosed, attached, or accompanying] payment to you. This payment was determined based on the formula in Labor Code section 226.2, subdivision (b)(1)(B). The calculations that were made to determine the total payment are as follows:

(Date) to (Date)                Hours worked                   Gross Wages Paid            4% of Gross Wages Paid                      

    XX to &&                                       33                                                   $1000                             $40                                               

previous payment for other non-productive time                                  previous payment for rest and recovery periods                                 

            $12  (66 minutes @ $10/hour)                                                           $16 (2 hours @ $8/hour) 

                                                                                                             total back wages paid                                                                                           


Please direct questions to FELS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 800-753-9073.