California Workers Gain on Pay, Working Conditions as New Laws Go Into Effect for 2019

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In 2019, agricultural workers gain time-and-a-half pay after 9.5 hours a day or 55 hours a week at farms, ranches and dairies with 26 or more employees. By 2025, all agricultural operations would have to pay overtime after 8 hours and 40 hours a week -- the same as other workers. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

In 2019, agricultural workers gain time-and-a-half pay after 9.5 hours a day or 55 hours a week at farms, ranches and dairies with 26 or more employees. By 2025, all agricultural operations would have to pay overtime after 8 hours and 40 hours a week — the same as other workers. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

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For minimum-wage earners, port truckers, farm laborers, sexual harassment victims, nursing mothers, high-powered female executives and workers injured on the job, 2019 offers reason to celebrate.

A score of new state laws took effect on Jan. 1, expanding the rights of many employees while placing fresh restrictions on businesses.

For workers, “2018 was a stellar year” for protections passed into law, said Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation, the umbrella group for more than 1,200 unions and a powerful force in state politics. “California continues to be on the leading edge of delivering economic justice to working people.”

The business community is markedly less exuberant.

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