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Oregon farmworkers will soon be eligible for overtime pay

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2022 | Employment Law

States across the nation are taking wage and hour laws increasingly more seriously when it comes to overtime pay for underrepresented employees. Oregon is one of them. For farmworkers, there has long been a debate as to whether they were entitled to overtime. Now, a bill that was recently passed will provide overtime pay to farmworkers. Although it will not go into effect until 2023, employers and employees should be aware of how the new law dictates overtime pay so they can prepare accordingly. For these and other employment-related issues, it is imperative to have professional assistance specifically tailored to the circumstances.

Overtime laws for farmworkers will be implemented gradually in Oregon

While many workers in other industries receive overtime after working beyond a 40-hour week, farmworkers will not receive this benefit until 2027. However, beginning in 2023, workers who reach 55 hours in a week will get overtime. In 2025, it will be 48 hours until it reached 40 hours in 2027. Often, farmworkers are migrants who are known to face obstacles at their jobs due to a lack of understanding of the laws and fears that they will face repercussions for asking that they be treated fairly.

The jobs that farmworkers do can be arduous and rife with danger. Often, they are not only deprived of overtime, but they are not even paid what they are legally supposed to be paid in hourly wages. They brave exceedingly hot temperatures, the risk of wildfires and physically and emotionally challenging tasks. Statistically, 2020 was the hottest year Oregon has had in its history since the weather was tracked beginning in 1940. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), farmworkers are not required to be paid overtime. Still, many states are taking the initiative and changing the laws to pay it.

For wage and hour changes, employers and employees can benefit from advice

Despite the overtime laws for farmworkers not going into effect for another year, this change is indicative of concerns that employers and employees face with wage and hour laws. Regardless of the perspective, the type of business, the wages and if there are past disagreements between workers and employers, it is useful to understand the current and future laws. Having assistance to ensure the situation is handled fairly is key. Professional advice can be helpful.