More Piece Rate Issues

More Piece Rate Issues

More Piece Rate Issues. I'm Greg Martin with today's Fruit Grower Report.

Labor and Industries has released their guidance for the Supreme Court decision that employers need to pay rest break time for piece rate workers. They've also included any bonuses into that equation. Dan Fazio with wafla explains how that is supposed to work according to L&I.

FAZIO: So if a worker received a bonus for perfect attendance for the month or even a bonus for staying through the entire harvest season, L&I is saying that this bonus needs to be added back in to the rate of pay, basically retro-actively over the entire season and the rest break pay needs to be increased based on this higher rate of pay. It's a lot of extra work for employers, spreading a bonus over three or four months and then retro-actively applying it. There are alternative calculations but they are still not easy.

And, according to Fazio, that's not all.

FAZIO: Even more disturbing, Greg, is that the agency is now saying that their guidance applies not only to piece rate workers, but to hourly workers and by my estimation it will surely also apply to non-agricultural workers as well. So since an hourly worker is already paid the regular hourly rate when they're resting, it doesn't seem logical to have to go back months later and apply avery small increase to every hour worked.

One scenario is that employers would just forgo bonuses altogether.

FAZIO: We're sending out the agencies draft guidance to our members, it's posted on our website and it will be a main topic for our labor conference on February 18th in Ellensburg.

That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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