Ag OT Fix a No Go Pt 1

Ag OT Fix a No Go Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
From the Ag Information Network, this is today’s Fruit Grower Report. There was a lot of hope in the agricultural sector that “something” might happen in Olympia this session with regards to a seasonal exemption for overtime.

The reality, according to Washington Policy Center’s Director of Ag Affairs, Pam Lewison …

LEWISON … “It went about as well as you would expect, which is, not great.”

Concerns about the new overtime rules, Lewison says got a courtesy listen …

LEWISON … “I think the interesting thing about it is that as we in agriculture face the 40-hour per week threshold that began January 1st, people are, I think, very concerned about how they’re going to be able to get things harvested and take care of their employees at the same time.”

Senator Curtis King’s bill, Lewison says made sense …

LEWISON … “The bill is SB 5476. What is does is give farmers 12 weeks during harvest where their overtime threshold is increased from the current 40-hour threshold up to 50 hours, and just for 12 weeks during the year, so not forever.”

Which, Lewison says would benefit everyone involved …

LEWISON … “I think we’re starting to see that discussion shift a little bit so that it’s not so much farmers themselves as it is farmworkers saying, hey this is really impacting my bottom line.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on what this means for the ag overtime in Washington state.

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