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P.M. BRIEFING : ‘Share Farmers’ Benefits Extended

<i> From Times wire services </i>

The state Supreme Court today required California growers to provide workers’ compensation coverage to laborers whose pay is based on the sale price of the crop rather than the hours they work.

The 5-2 ruling said “share farmers,” who sign contracts with growers to collect part of the proceeds of the crop rather than an hourly or piecework wage, must be considered employees of the growers, rather than self-employed contractors.

The court also indicated that the workers were protected by other employment laws, including wage and hour standards, health and safety requirements, civil rights, child labor and union organizing.

Dissenting Justice Marcus Kaufman said the ruling “will end up harming the very persons it is paternalistically intended to help.”

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