Farm Labor and Overtime Pay Pt 1

Farm Labor and Overtime Pay Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. It may be a so-called short session, but legislators are back in Olympia with a lot on their plate, including many issues that impact our agricultural industry like labor and overtime exemptions.

Washington Farm Bureau Director of Government Affairs, Tom Davis says last year they had a partial victory in the battle for ag’s overtime exemption when it came to back pay …

DAVIS … “One of the things that we were able to beat back, the retroactive compensation piece of that, where they wanted farmers to pay back three years’ worth of overtime, there would have been many, many farms across the state that would have gone out of business if that had happened.”

So this year, Davis says they’ll be working on a rather significant overtime adjustment for agriculture …

DAVIS … “It’s called seasonality, but it’s during the course of the year carving out, one of the options is 12 weeks during the year where ag overtime wouldn’t kick in until after, one of the options is 50 hours. So, during tree fruit harvest, during any of the commodities you want to look at, we know that there’s going to be busier times during harvest, and planning and pruning and everything else, and the workers want to work more hours, it would allow them to do that and not pay overtime until after 50 hours.”

And that, Davis says would really help …

DAVIS … “One of the names for that is seasonality and there will be a bill that will be dropped that will address that issue.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on that “Seasonality” exemption for overtime in agriculture.

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