Dilley: OT Legislation A Good, Balanced Compromise

The Washington State Legislature passed a bill this session shifting overtime threshold rules for agricultural workers to anything over 40 hours by 2024. Washington State Dairy Federation Communications Director Scott Dilley said they were able to protect producers from retroactive pay for the past three years.

“In that sense it seemed like a good balanced compromise. We have three years of protection looking backwards and three years moving forward in terms of phasing in. The other point in the legislation is that dairy remains at 40 hours.”

If Governor Inslee signs the bill, as expected, the overtime threshold will be 55 hours next year, 48 hours in 2023 and 40 hours in 2024. Dilley said that retroactive protection is a huge win for farmers since it could have been a $2 billion liability.

“Moving into the future a farmer can make different labor decisions, different shifts, different hours, different workers, all of that. You can’t go back and change the past three years.”

The new legislation came out of a State Supreme Court ruling in November that said agricultural workers are eligible for overtime pay. ​

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