Legislation introduced by lawmakers from California would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and end the minimum wage and overtime pay exemptions for farm workers.
The Fairness for Farm Workers Act was introduced by Representative Raúl Grijalva and Senator Kamala Harris, both Democrats from California, Thursday.
In a statement, the lawmakers say that “it’s unacceptable” many farm workers live in poverty, adding it’s time farm workers “receive the wages they deserve.”
Harris called the legislation “a major step towards economic justice” for farmworkers.
The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act established federal standards for minimum wage and overtime pay, but the law excluded millions of agriculture workers who were overwhelmingly people of color.
Farmworkers gained some minimum wage protections in 1966, but exclusions on overtime persist today.
The Fairness for Farm Workers Act would gradually implement overtime pay over the course of four years and bring greater equity to the American agricultural industry.