Farmers would be required to pay field hands overtime after they work eight hours in a day under legislation headed to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.
The bill, SB1121, would change state law so farm workers are no longer exempt from the overtime laws that cover most other hourly workers.
Currently, they can earn overtime only when they work 10 or more hours in a day. Hourly employees in other professions receive overtime after eight hours.
Supporters described the vote in the state Assembly as one of fairness for laborers who have been excluded from overtime protections since the 1940s. Lawmakers approved the bill Thursday on a 46-26 vote.
Critics of the measure say farmers will simply run larger crews so they can avoid paying overtime.