Ag Overtime Updt Pt 2

Ag Overtime Updt Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A seasonality exemption for overtime in the ag industry failed to even make it out of committee in the last session.

So, in all likelihood, Washington Policy Center Initiative on Ag Director, Pam Lewison says employers will be reducing the working hours in an effort to avoid paying overtime, which would cripple many farm operations …

LEWISON … “We’re going to have to have farmworkers saying, hey I’m struggling to pay my bills with one job before we’re going to get our employees the time they deserve.”

Lewison says maybe their voices would drive the point home …

LEWISON … “Because it’s hard to explain that this is not an employer choice. This is effectively a mandate for employers to have to reduce pay and reduce hours at the same time to keep all of their employees.”

In a nutshell …

LEWISON … “That’s essentially what it boils down to because farmers don’t have the ability to change their income. And that’s always the part that we struggle with explaining to people, is that unlike any other wholesale business we cannot change our income. All we can do is alter other things to figure out a way to maybe reduce our expenses.”

Lewison says this is just another case of urban lawmakers regulating things they don’t understand, and it’s unlikely to change until we do some relationship building and start real conversations.

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