Last Thursday, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries announced its guidance on how agricultural employers should follow the recent Washington Supreme Court ruling in Demetrio v. Sakuma. Rick Clyne, Retro/Safety officer with Washington Farm Bureau explains.
CLYNE: Basically within the confirms of what you probably already know which is the Sakuma lawsuit, an issue was presented which is a federal lawsuit because it's under Department of Labor and so because it is in fact about Washington law however there was a question presented that had to do with how do you handle rest breaks in the context of agricultural work in Washington.
The issue is how to pay for rest and lunch breaks when dealing with a piece rate.
CLYNE: What they determined was between two statutes, one that says "shall be allowed" or 'maybe allowed" essentially that they both mean the same thing and that these rest breaks must be paid, they must be paid separately and so they offered us some calculations on how to do that.
There are still a number of issues to be dealt with in this but at the moment it appears employers must make two calculations to pay workers, one at the piece rate and another at the "regular rate.":
CLYNE: It's workable but it's difficult and it doesn't answer all the questions. However, because of the language used in the statute, "regular rate," agricultural workers now have to do two calculations. It's still just math but it is a more complicated calculation and is now two separate calculations.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.