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FA R M   L A B O R   I N F O R M AT I O N   B U L L E T I N

Voice of the Fields California

March 22, 2011

FREE

Volume 21, Number 3

Agricultural Workers Rights

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alifornia law requires employers to provide all employees a safe and healthy working environment regardless of the industry in which they work. Agricultural workers have additional rights due to the nature of the work that they perform. All agricultural workers have legal rights regardless of their immigration status.

Under California law, your employer must provide: n

Training about health and safety, including information on pesticides and other chemicals. n Potable drinking water, suitably cool and in sufficient amounts—dispensed in single- use drinking cups or by fountains, located so as to be readily accessible to all employees. n One toilet and handwashing facility for each 20 employees of each sex, located within a quarter mile walk, or if not feasible, at the closest point of vehicular access. As an alternative to providing the required toilet and handwashing facilities themselves, employers may transport employees conducting hand-labor operations to toilet and handwashing facilities under either of the following circumstances: • When employees perform field work for a period of less than two hours (including time spent traveling to and from the field), or

• When fewer than five employees

in the establishment are engaged in hand-labor operations on any given day. Pre-moistened towelettes cannot be substituted for handwashing facilities. n Maintenance in accordance with public health sanitation practices, including: upkeep of water quality through daily change or as often as needed; toilets kept clean, sanitary, and operational; handwashing facilities refilled with potable water as necessary, and kept clean and sanitary; and the prevention of any unsanitary conditions through waste disposal.

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Opportunity for reasonable use, through notification of each employee by the employer of the location of the water and the facilities, and the allowance of reasonable opportunities during the workday to use them. The employer also must inform the

employee of the relevant health hazards in the field and the practices necessary to minimize exposure to them. n Payment for emergency care and transportation if you get hurt or sick because of your job. You may also be entitled to lost wages. n At least the minimum wage, $7.25 per hour. In some cases, employers can pay 85% of the minimum wage during your first 160 hours, if you have no previous similar experience. Call toll-free (888) 275-9243 for more information. Employers that are violating these worker rights are subject to fines. The Cal/ OSHA enforcement unit has jurisdiction over all employers in California. To report an injury or workplace violation, you can contact the local Cal/OSHA Enforcement Unit Office closest to you by accessing local office listings at www.dir.ca.gov/ dosh/DistrictOffices.htm or you can submit a form online at www.dir.ca.gov/ dosh/enforcementpage.htm. You also have a right to: n Report health and safety problems. n Work without racial or sexual harassment. n Refuse to work if the job is immediately dangerous to your life or health. n Join or organize a union. Continued on next page


Workers Rights Continued from last page

Housing and Transportation The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act requires farm labor contractors, agricultural employers, and agricultural associations who recruit, solicit, hire, employ, furnish, transport or house agricultural workers, as well as providers of migrant housing, to meet certain minimum requirements in their dealings with migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. Each person who owns or controls housing provided to migrant agricultural workers must ensure that the facility complies with the federal and state safety and health standards covering that housing. Migrant housing may not be occupied until it has been inspected and certified to meet these safety and health standards. The certification of occupancy must be posted at the site. Each vehicle used to transport migrant or seasonal agricultural workers must be properly insured and operated by a properly licensed driver. Each such vehicle must also meet federal and state safety standards. For more information on the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at www.dol.gov/compliance/ laws/comp-msawpa.htm or call 1-866-4-USA-DOL.

Check out La Cooperativa on Radio Bilingüe

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a Cooperativa produces a monthly radio program to bring more information to its readers. Program host Marco Lizarraga interviews experts on important issues that impact you and provides employment information from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) and an up-to-date H2-A jobs report on every program. The program is broadcast on Radio Bilingüe, a non-profit radio network with Latino control and leadership. Here is a list of upcoming programs:

March 31, 2011 (10:00 a.m.) Hear from an expert from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on important tax issues. April 28, 2011 (10:00 a.m.) Learn about the Center for Employment Training and Unemployment Insurance benefits, as well as Disability Insurance. May 26, 2011 (10:00 a.m.) Learn about the Central Valley Opportunity Center. Hear from an expert on immigration issues and how not to be scammed. June 30, 2011 (10:00 a.m.) Learn about the California Human Development and el Intituto del Mexicano en el Extranjero To find a station near you, visit www. radiobilingue.org. You can also access past programs online!

Agricultural Weather Highlights – March 7, 2011

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he past few weeks have brought a series of rain producing weather patterns that hit the northern part of the state bringing below normal temperatures. Range and pasture conditions continue to thrive as a result of the recent precipitation. For a complete weather and crop report, please visit www.nass.usda.gov/ Statistics_by_State/California/index.asp.


It’s time to file your taxes

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tate and federal personal income tax returns for 2010 are due on April 18, 2011. Since Friday, April 15, is a legal holiday in Washington DC (Emancipation Day), the IRS has announced that taxpayers nationwide have until the following business day, Monday, April 18, to timely file returns and pay taxes. California will accept as timely, tax returns and payments received on April 18. Items you’ll need to file your taxes: n  Valid Social Security cards

for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents n  Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return n  Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers n  Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099) n  A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available n  Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit n  Other relevant information about income and expenses

Need help filing your taxes? Starting in February, more than 1,000 centers statewide open through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. These sites offer free help with tax form preparation. Some offer services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. For information on locations throughout California, visit www.ftb.ca.gov and click on the free filing assistance link. You can also access and download tax forms online at www.ftb.ca.gov as well as file your taxes online. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), also provides a number of services online to help residents file their Federal income tax returns. The IRS also has a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to help prepare your federal income taxes. In addition to the free tax return preparation assistance available at VITA sites, many offer free electronic filing (e-file). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster if you have your refund deposited directly into your bank account. Learn the locations, dates, and hours of the volunteer sites by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-TAX-1040 or 800-8291040. You can also get free telephone assistance by calling 800-829-1040.

The following offices can also help you with tax services: Center for Employment Training 701 Vine Street San Jose, CA 95110 408.534.5360 sanjose@cet2000.org California Human Development 3315 Airway Drive Santa Rosa, CA 95403 Phone: 707-523-1155 Fax: 707-523-3776 Central Valley Opportunity Center 6838 Bridget Court P.O. Box 1389 Winton, CA 95388 tel 209.357.0062 Employers’ Training Resource Administrative Offices  1600 East Belle Terrace Bakersfield, CA 93307 (661) 325-HIRE Proteus, Inc. 1830 N. Dinuba Blvd. Visalia, CA  93291 Phone (559) 733-5423  Fax (559) 738-1137  info@proteusinc.org


Tax Credits Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

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he Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income credit designed for individuals and families who earn low-tomoderate incomes. The credit can reduce tax liability, or provide a sizable refund when taxpayers have no withholding. For tax year 2010, the maximum credit is: n $5,666 with three or more qualifying children. n $5,036 with two qualifying children. n $3,050 with one qualifying child. n $457 with no qualifying children. Learn more about the EITC by visiting www.irs.gov or visiting your local VITA office. Location information is available at www.ftb.ca.gov or by calling 800.852.5711.

Child Tax Credit

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he Child Tax Credit is an important tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon your income. To qualify for this tax credit the child must have been under age 17 (age 16 or younger) at the end of 2010. The child must either be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of these individuals, which includes your grandchild, niece or nephew. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption. You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return and the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.

The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount, which varies depending on your filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000. In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax you owe as well as any alternative minimum tax you owe. If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, or to access the appropriate forms, please visit www.irs.gov.

Voice of the Fields California Circulation: 40,000 copies

www.LaCooperativa.org Published monthly by: La Cooperativa Campesina de California 7801 Folsom Blvd, Suite 365, Sacramento, CA 95826 Phone 916.388.2220 • Fax 916.388.2426

Editor: Marco Lizarraga Produced with the support of the Employment Development Department Voice of the Fields may be reproduced


Voice of the Fields - March 2011  

Farm Labor Information Bulletin

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