A caravan of state agencies from around the State of California and local organizations woke up very early in the morning to approach farmworkers and let them know about their worker rights and how they are protected under the law despite their immigration status.
A press conference was held on Nov. 14 in El Centro with community organizations and state agencies to announce the labor rights caravan and week of action in Imperial County. The caravan is part of the COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project (CWOP), a statewide initiative to bring together community organizations and state agencies to promote workplace protections against COVID-19. COVID-19 and vaccination.
California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said that two years ago they launched an aggressive campaign to reach vulnerable populations by doing these caravans because they saw a decrease in claims.
“We know that was not accurate but there was more fear, intimidation, and loss of employment which meant we had to come out of our offices, into the communities, and meet workers where they are,” García-Brower said. “We are collaborating more with community partners to gain workers’ trust and putting more resources in our local office to move more claims and investigations.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office launched an interdisciplinary outreach campaign in 2020, “Reaching Every Californian.” The campaign amplifies basic protections and builds pathways to affected populations so workers and employers understand legal protections and obligations, and the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement procedures.
The farming community in Imperial County was informed of the extension of Supplemental Paid Sick Hours, the new COVID-19 booster shot, workplace health and safety, and labor rights.
“We are a community that is majority Hispanic and that’s why vaccines were very important to make sure the worker is healthy, strong, and have the benefits they deserve,” said Jose Luis Olmedo, Executive Director of Comite Civico Del Valle.
The new law went into effect on February 19 for employers with 26 or more employees.
On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 114 which requires employers with 26 or more employees to provide Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for specific COVID-19-related reasons. Qualifying employers are required to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave, with 40 of those hours available only when the employee or their family member tests positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is in addition to regular paid sick leave.
The Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. combats wage theft and unfair competition by investigating allegations of illegal and unfair business practices.