Legislation requiring overtime pay for farm workers cleared the Washington House on Friday with a 91-7 vote. Senate Bill 5172 will stair step the overtime requirement over the next three years, with overtime starting at 55 hours a week in January, 48 hours on January 1st, 2023 and then to 40 hours a year later. In addition, it also protects the farming sector from being sues for retroactive pay from the previous three years.


Mukilteo Democrat Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self said this legislation promises to bring Washington agricultural workers up to par with workers in other sectors where overtime pay has been the norm for decades.

"The thought of all other employees getting time and a half overtime pay, and we leave our agricultural workers out of that equation, is so antiquated. I can’t imagine anyone who does harder work on our behalf to help meet some basic needs of our communities.” 


Ortiz-Self added the bill a win-win for farmers as well as farmworkers. Meanwhile, Mark Klicker, a Walla-Walla area Republican says not only will this overtime rule hurt farm owners, it will hurt farm workers as well.

“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, so there won’t be extra time.  So, in essence the employees will then begin to have smaller paychecks.”

SB 5172 heads to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk where he’s expected to sign it.

“SB 5172 will end a racist legacy and correct an injustice that has existed for too long,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Washington’s labor movement thanks all the representatives and senators who voted to approve this bill, and the hundreds of supporters who contacted their legislators urging them to do so. We look forward to Senate concurrence and Governor Jay Inslee’s signature on this historic legislation.”

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