Last week, the Washington Supreme Court ruled farmworkers must receive overtime pay, thus eliminating an exemption from the state’s minimum wage law the Ag industry has used for decades. The ruling will have a deep and direct impact on the Washington dairy industry. And according to Scott Dilley Communication Director for the state dairy federation, between the pandemic, market instability, and low prices, 2020 has not been kind to Washington dairy families.
“We’re talking about huge increases for input costs such as labor. This has been a very challenging year and this is another challenge our farmers are having to go through and overcome.”
Dilley said the overtime ruling means effective immediately, dairy farmers need to pay their employees time and a half for any time above a 40 hour workweek. He noted the ruling came a shock.
“The effect of the ruling is swift and immediate. Our farmers have been doing the right thing for all these years and for somebody to come in and say ‘no you haven’t been doing it right’, is almost a slap in the face,” added Dilley.
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