Inslee signs ag overtime bill

By on Thursday, May 13th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

YAKIMA – Gov. Jay Inslee traveled to Yakima to sign a bill that will make agriculture workers eligible for overtime this week. The new law creates a phased-in approach to full overtime pay by 2024. In 2022 it will provide overtime for more than 55 hours of work a week, and 48 hours in 2023.

The bill was supported by both parties and had the backing of several agricultural employers. It grew out of a landmark ruling by the Washington Supreme Court that granted overtime protection for dairy workers. Farm workers had been exempt from overtime pay nationally since 1938.

Inslee said the pandemic has brought a new focus on the challenges faced by front line workers like those in the fields.

“They have kept our state moving through one of the most challenging times, working through personal hardship and challenges,” he said.

The symbolism of signing the bill in Yakima was appreciated by its chief sponsor, Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima.)

“It took a great deal of effort through tough negotiations and compromise to get the bill to today’s signing,” he said. “There is more work to be done, but this is a great step forward.”

Public domain photo of field workers