California citrus growers face new contractor rules

Citrus growers in California need to re-evaluate their working relationships with independent contractors, ensuring they follow new state regulations that redefine who is an independent contractor.

The new rules, signed by California governor Newsom last fall,  state that any worker is an employee unless the hiring entity can demonstrate that the worker is an independent contractor. The law becomes effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The law requires employers to treat workers previously classified as contractors as employees, with minimum wage, overtime, sick leave, unemployment and other benefits. Opponents say the law could increase labor costs by up to 30 percent.

The new law presumes that a worker is an employee unless the employer can demonstrate by way of a three-factor test that the worker is an independent contractor. The test determines if provisions of the Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, tax withholdings, and the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission apply to that worker.

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