Ag Overtime Changes Pt 2

Ag Overtime Changes Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, I’m Bob Larson with today’s Fruit Grower Report. The new overtime threshold being phased in for agriculture is set at 48 hours this year and scheduled to drop to 40 hours next year.

Jon DeVaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, says the overtime threshold won’t likely be the only challenge …

DeVANEY … “So, we’re expecting producers to have a lot more difficulty managing around that issue at the same time that they’re dealing with some additional new requirements around heat exposure.”

But protecting workers from the heat, DeVaney says is nothing new …

DeVANEY … “We’ve always had a heat exposure rule to protect workers in Washington state for many years and the new rule that has come out in proposed form and we expect to have finalized from the Department of Labor and Industries here in the next couple of weeks, to be phased in over the summer would have new requirements on limiting work hours and providing more mandatory breaks at some, you know, lower temperature thresholds than was the case in the past.”

But when you put the two together, DeVaney says, it will take some juggling …

DeVANEY … “Between managing overtime and losing work hours for additional mandated cooldown breaks, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on producers to manage a limited workforce and still get done what they need to get done on their farms.”

The proposed changes address the need for more preventative measures to keep workers from overheating.

One of the changes would require mandatory cool-down periods of 10 minutes every two hours at 90 degrees, and 15 minutes every hour at 100 degrees.

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