Ag Overtime Flexibility Pt 1

Ag Overtime Flexibility Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson. One of the big challenges the tree fruit industry is taking on during this year’s legislative session is trying to work more flexibility into the state’s new ag overtime law.

Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, says dealing with the overtime bill last year was a bit hectic …

DeVANEY … “One of the issues that we had wanted to have in the original legislation that phased in overtime in our state but were not able to get, within the time constraints in the original package, was some seasonal flexibility for agriculture.”

But, DeVaney says they were able to avoid a couple of

problems …

DeVANEY … “By agreeing to a phase-in period and getting those protections from for retroactive claims, we saved the industry a lot of potential risk and gave time for some adjustment.”

In the end, DeVaney says they just ran out of time …

DeVANEY … “There was a lot of uncertainty about how best to deal with some of our industries’ challenges over the long-term and we couldn’t get agreement on that language before it needed to be passed at the end of session.”

This year, DeVaney says, it’s back to the table …

DeVANEY … “So, we have been asking the legislature to go back and provide some flexibility on a seasonal basis for agricultural employers. By flexibility, what we mean is 12 weeks per year that each farmer can choose where the threshold for time-and-a-half overtime kicking in is at 50 hours instead of 40 hours.”

Tune in tomorrow for more … working flexibility into our new Ag Overtime law.

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