More On Rest Breaks
The recent guidance released by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries on how ag operations need to pay for meal and rest breaks has been getting a lot of attention. Dan Fazio with wafla has been working on this issue.
FAZIO: As you know, it was a tough harvest season for many growers, and one of the things which made it tough was a new, time consuming regulation that was created by the Washington Supreme Court this summer which requires ag employers who pay by piece to calculate a separate additional payment for rest breaks for piece rate workers.
The rationale is that piece rate workers aren't earning anything when they are resting, so the Supreme Court wants ag employers to pay an extra 10 minutes every 4 hours worked to compensate for rest breaks, and they want employers to figure out what to pay based on the average wage earned from all the piece rate work that the worker did.
The ruling was a result of the Demetrio v. Sakuma lawsuit.
FAZIO: The guidance confirms that you can average the rate of the rest break pay over the entire work week. It also confirms that the employer must require workers to take rest breaks, which is not at all clear when you look at the regulation as it currently stands. So if people have questions about how to calculate that extra pay, we've got a nice calculator on our website, wafla; wafla.org.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.