Overtime For Agriculture Pt 3

Overtime For Agriculture Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Senate Bill 5172 has moved on the House in Olympia with the hopes that it will bring a phasing in of overtime pay for agriculture and protect ag employers from paying overtime retroactively.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says it does more than that, but those are the key parts of it …

DeVANEY … “We are looking to get the phase in periods so growers have a chanced to adjust, which is in the bill now. And, in the course of negotiating we thought there had been an agreement for some kind of ongoing seasonal flexibility. And, we’re still talking with legislators about making sure that some kind of ability to go above 40 hours for limited periods of time, during harvest for example, wouldn’t trigger overtime.”

Those exemptions, DeVaney says would probably be limited …

DeVANEY … “And, some other states have set a year-round limit that is higher for agriculture. We were looking at a more limited duration waiver, or higher ceiling I should say, like in Hawaii, just so that it will not create the worker advocates concern around long-term long hours that could result in safety risks.”

DeVaney appreciates that legislators took this matter up with little warning …

DeVANEY … “This was put on the agenda after the November Supreme Court decision and the legislature decided to wade into this issue to address the needs of agriculture and the concerns of the farm worker advocates.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the ag overtime bill.

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