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Farmworker Relief Package

Farmworker Relief Landing Page Graphic
COVID-19 has created major challenges for communities across the State. Specifically, one of our most vulnerable groups, farmworkers, have faced increased economic and health risks throughout the pandemic. That is why Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Eduardo Garcia introduced a Farmworker Relief Package to protect the health, safety, and economic security of agricultural workers in California and prevent disruptions to the nation’s food supply. 
The California Farmworker COVID-19 Relief Package has been modified since it was first announced on April 9, adjusting to complement the evolving federal and state response to the pandemic. It initially included a paid sick leave expansion, then on April 16 Governor Newsom announced a robust paid sick leave policy for food supply workers, including farmworkers. The package also initially included expanded hazard pay, then on May 6 Governor Newsom signed an executive order making worker’s compensation more readily available for workers exposed to COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Federal CARES Act allocated substantial funding to childcare for essential workers, another provision of the initial Farmworker Relief Package. 
The Farmworker Relief Package will also included efforts to significantly expand the California Farmworker Housing Assistance Tax Credit, which will incentivize the development of permanent, safe housing for farm and agricultural workers. In July 2020, Governor Newsom announced the Housing for the Harvest program, which provides temporary isolation spaces for agricultural workers. Additionally, the Governor acted on our Farmworker Relief Requests by enacting a new, emergency standard on testing and PPE for farmworkers. 

California COVID-19 Farmworker Relief Package

AB 2043: Agricultural Workplace Health & Safety (R. Rivas, E. Garcia, Gonzalez) – passed with bipartisan support, signed by Governor
—Ensures enforcement by Cal/OSHA of its COVID-19 guidance, funds a targeted bilingual outreach campaign to educate agricultural workers on Cal/OSHA guidance, as well as COVID-19-related paid sick leave and workers compensation benefits, and directs Cal/OSHA to track and report workplace investigations related to the agricultural industry


AB 2164: Telehealth for Rural and Community Health Centers Act (R. Rivas, Salas) – passed with bipartisan support, vetoed by Governor to allow his administration to evaluate “its global telehealth policy to determine what temporary flexibilities should be extended beyond the COVID-19 pandemic”
—Expands telehealth services for rural and community health centers, to the benefit of farmworker and other marginalized groups that have difficulty accessing medical care


AB 2165: E-Filing and Rural Access to Justice Act (R. Rivas) – passed with bipartisan support, signed by Governor
—Expands the availability of electronic filing to all state trial courts, given that access to courthouses is a problem in many farmworker and other rural communities


Request for Temporary COVID-19 Housing for Agricultural Workers (R. Rivas) – Governor took executive action
—After formal requests in March and April, followed by a $25M Budget Request in May, to expand the Administration’s Project Roomkey and Homekey programs, Governor Newsom announced the “Housing for the Harvest” program in July to provide safe, temporary isolation spaces for sick or at risk agricultural workers


Request for Prioritization of Agricultural Workers for PPE and COVID-19 Testing (R. Rivas) – Governor took executive action
—After formal requests in March and April, Governor Newsom announced in May that his Administration would be ramping-up testing availability for rural and other under-served communities and again in July that both testing and PPE access would be improved for agricultural workers

March PPE and Testing Letter

April PPE and Testing Letter