Paid Agricultural Rest Breaks

A Washington State Supreme Court decision recently held that the agricultural rest break regulation (WAC 296-131-020(2)) requires employers to pay piece-rate agricultural workers a separate payment for their rest breaks in addition to their piece-rate wage payments. This separate payment must be based on the regular rate of pay or minimum wage, whichever is greater.

Since the court's decision, L&I has received many questions about how employers must pay agricultural workers for their rest periods. Below is a link to the initial guidance L&I has prepared to help employers and workers understand their rights and responsibilities related to paid rest breaks. 

L&I will continue to update its Web pages and provide additional guidance for agricultural employers and workers in Washington. Please contact us with feedback and questions as we move forward.


For more detail, see Agricultural Employment Standards - WAC 296-131 (

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