As 2022 begins, farmers must be aware of new California laws

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

For California farmers, there is often overlap in the fundamental needs of running their business. Labor laws, agricultural regulations and other basics for business compliance can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming. This is especially true when new laws are passed and go into effect. When a new year begins, laws passed in the previous year must generally be understood and adhered to. This can cause challenges when making the required adjustments while maintaining the business. For these and other issues related to business, it is vital to have professional guidance with navigating the complex terrain.

Wages and animal living areas updated for 2022

New California laws will increase the minimum wage and put in place requirements for the amount of space animals are required to have in cages and pens. First, all businesses should know how wage laws have changed. Any employer with at least 26 employees during a pay period is required to pay them $15 per hour. They will also need to pay overtime to agricultural workers if they go beyond eight hours in one day or 40 hours in a week. If there are 25 or fewer employees, it is $14 per hour and will increase to $15 in 2023. These employers will also need to pay overtime if the workers go beyond 9.5 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week.

Regarding animal housing, breeding pigs and their piglets must have a minimum of 24 square feet per pig. Hens that are kept for their eggs must be cage-free independent of whether they are inside or outside. They must have 1 to 1.5 square feet. In addition, the housing requirements will eliminate the sale of these animals and veal from calves if they are not followed.

Adapting to new laws and staying in operation may require professional guidance

The new laws will undoubtedly impact businesses and how farmers need to care for their animals. Not only are there new wage laws, but new requirements for paying employees overtime. That and the care and housing for animals can lead to worries about following the law and facing consequences if they do not. Adapting may not be as easy as simply making the necessary changes. If there are problems or disagreements as to how to proceed, it is imperative to have experienced advice to handle these overlapping business laws. Having representation can be helpful to address their concerns and confront issues effectively.




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