All agricultural employees in Washington have the right to earn overtime pay as of Jan. 1, 2022. Dairy workers are entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in a work week.

The 2021 Legislature passed ESSB 5172, a bill expanding overtime protections to all agricultural employees, including agricultural piece-rate employees, with a three-year phase-in schedule. Agricultural employees have historically been exempt from receiving overtime pay under the State Minimum Wage Act but that exemption expired Jan. 1, 2022.

Agricultural employees must earn at least the state’s applicable minimum wage. Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate.

Overtime Eligibility

Dairy employees have been entitled to receive overtime pay after working 40 hours per workweek since November 2020.

Agricultural employees are now entitled to receive overtime pay as of Jan. 1, 2022, with the removal of the agricultural overtime exemption and following the phase-in schedule for three years.

Agricultural overtime phase-in schedule

Each year, the phase-in schedule gradually reduces the number of hours employees need to work in a workweek to receive overtime pay.

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2022: 55 hours
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2023: 48 hours
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2024: 40 hours

To File A Wage Complaint

If you feel your workplace rights have been violated, including any unpaid overtime, you can file a worker rights complaint with L&I. Complaint forms are available in multiple languages.

The new overtime protections are not retroactive for agricultural workers, and the Employment Standards Program cannot investigate complaints if the occurrence took place prior to the overtime eligibility changes. Dairy workers cannot file claims for overtime hours worked prior to Nov. 5, 2020. However, dairy workers can file complaints if they feel they earned overtime pay after Nov. 5, 2020 and did not receive it.

For more information, please call the Employment Standards Program toll free at 1-866-219-7321. If needed, interpretation services are available.

Resources

L&I has developed additional resources (in English and Spanish) in response to the changes in the agricultural overtime law.

Technical documents