Fresno, Calif. – It’s complicated and can be confusing, that goes for anything new. As a farm labor contractor or farm employer you may be scratching your head over California’s AB 1513 piece-rate law and it’s safe harbor provisions. That’s understandable, the new law fundamentally changed how to pay piece-rate workers for rest breaks, other non-productive time and changed related wage stub requirements. You can be assured that Datatech has been on top of these changes for our California clientele.
“The new law is complicated,” says Datatech Support Manager Damaris Davidian. “We recommend that our clients retain legal counsel through all of this, just due to the fact of trying to figure out the safe harbor provisions of the law and the individual requirements an employer may have for choosing a back pay method, whether it be the ‘four percent’ or the ‘actual.'” Davidian also recommends clients that choose to make the back wage payments to piece-rate workers for the 3 and half year period from July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015, take advantage of Datatech’s Safe Harbor report. “The report is really good for clients, whichever method a client chooses, the software will determine the back wages with that method and prepare checks with the new stub requirements for these clients.”
AB 1513 provided a short window of time, for employers to make back wage payments to workers for previously uncompensated or under-compensated rest and recovery periods and other nonproductive time in exchange for relief from statutory penalties and other damages. Employers had until July 28, 2016 to declare their intentions and to make the back payments by December 31, 2016 so as to have an ‘affirmative defense’ from any litigation that may arise over AB 1513 provisions. Legal experts with the Western Growers Association have said that there’s a good chance that lawyers will be watching employers who don’t declare and make payments, since this information is made public on the Department of Industrial Relations website.
At Datatech, we’ve been on this since the beginning as an advantage for our clients. The Department of Industrial Relations has been as clear as a state agency can be on providing guidance to those impacted. Clients and the public have had access to the Datatech Grapevine blog with ongoing AB 1513 posts, webinar links that we’ve conducted, information about our safe harbor report and FAQ’s posted about this process. Just log onto our blog and in the search window type “AB 1513” and you’ll see all the latest blog posts and links on the topic.
Western Growers Association is also providing Town Hall meetings around the state to help farm employers and labor contractors protect themselves from liability. Click here for the link to their article on the matter and the dates and times. There will be legal experts to provide information during these Town Hall meetings in Salinas, Selma, Santa Maria, Oxnard and Bakersfield. Topics will include:
- Timing of issuing back payments.
- Required backup documentation.
- Working with farm labor contractors to perfect safe harbor compliance.
- Required due diligence for locating eligible workers.
- Utilizing multiple methods of calculating back payments.
- Submitting back payments to the labor commissioner’s Unpaid Wage Fund.
- Dealing with stale checks.
Datatech software is helping agribusiness across America to simplify the complexities of payroll regulations and cost accounting. Take a look at our product pages for more information specific to your requirements for efficiency and contact us for more information. Clients that haven’t taken advantage of the Datatech safe harbor report can inquire with Brian Peckfelder – Brian@DatatechAg.com about this unique service.