SB 5172 Deadline Pt 1

SB 5172 Deadline Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. SB 5172 was originally written to protect farmers from having to pay retroactive overtime pay after November’s Supreme Court ruling that agriculture’s exemption from having to pay overtime was unconstitutional.

The Washington Farm Bureau’s Breanne Elsey says the bill needs an amendment to at least give ag employers an overtime exemption during harvest season …

ELSEY … “And we had requested 12 weeks a year, of a farmer’s choosing, where overtime wouldn’t start until at least 50 hours a week. And, that’s our seasonality amendment. This just addresses the volatile nature of agriculture.”

Volatile, Elsey says being the operative word …

ELSEY … “You don’t know when you’re going to have to pull an all-nighter, whether you’ve got calves that are being born in the middle of the night or whether you’ve got rain in the forecast. And, we call those acts of God. We don’t get to choose and we don’t get to know.”

But, Elsey says the Unions and Democrats are pushing back hard …

ELSEY … “I think that’s the hardest sell right now, with the other party, is that they don’t see the value of the seasonality component. And so, farmers really need to contact their legislators, describe what it’s like to be a farmer and how necessary that is, and how crippling 40-hour work weeks would be during peak harvest.”

With a 70% increase in bankruptcy filings in Northwest states, compared to the national average of 8%, Elsey says the seasonality amendment is crucial for this bill.

Elsey says contact your legislator and let them know how important changes to this bill are.

Listen tomorrow for more.

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