Washington ag OT bill heads to governor’s desk

A controversial, agriculture overtime bill is headed to the governor’s desk in Washington state.

It stair-steps overtime requirements for the ag sector, over the next three years.

OT will start at 55 hours in January, then at 48 hours the following year, followed by 40 hours a year later. Supporters say that it protects farmers from being sued for retroactive pay. Opponents say that the bill will not only hurt farmers but their workers as well.

According to Representative Mark Klicker, “Any of the employers that survive this will then end up hiring 40 hour a week employees and they’ll go with double shifts or whatever-- there won’t be extra time. So, in essence, the employees will then begin to have smaller paychecks.”

Proponents say that employees in every other sector get time-and-a-half overtime pay. They say that leaving ag workers out of that equation is antiquated, especially when you consider how hard they work.


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