Levy: Bill for ag worker overtime will mean more part time workers

By on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

SALEM – State Rep. Bobby Levy (R-Echo) is deeply concerned about House Bill 2358, which would require overtime pay for agricultural workers working more than 40 hours a week. The measure is sponsored by lawmakers from Lake Oswego, Eugene, Gresham, Portland, and Tigard.

“Farm work is different,” Levy said. “It doesn’t conform to a nine-to-five work week. We don’t get to take off banking hours or holidays.”

She said that it’s an around the clock commitment due to weather, predators, and timely harvests. Levy is a farmer herself and she fears that if the bill passes it will hurt many valued long-time employees.

“They’ll cut back people’s hours and they’ll give them less than 40 hours a week,” she said of what farmers’ and ranchers’ reactions would be if the measure passes. “We don’t want to do that. There isn’t a single person in our area that wants to do that. Most everybody I know has farm labor employees that have worked for them for years.”

The bill has had one public hearing in the House Business and Labor Committee. The companion to it in the senate, SB 616, has not been heard by the Senate Business and Labor Committee and no work sessions have been scheduled.