All agricultural employees in Washington will have the right to earn overtime pay beginning 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 will expire 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.
Dairy employees are now entitled to receive overtime pay after working 40 hours per workweek.
Agricultural employees will be entitled to receive overtime pay starting 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
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.
L&I has developed additional resources (in English and Spanish) in response to the changes in the agricultural overtime law.
- News release: Dairy workers are eligible overtime; all other ag workers eligible beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
- News release en español: The news release is also available in Spanish.
- Fact sheet: This printable fact sheet explains the details of the new agricultural overtime law.
- Fact sheet en español: The printable fact sheet is also available in Spanish.
- Infographic: This infographic highlights the key elements of the changes regarding overtime for agricultural workers.
- Infographic en español: The agricultural overtime infographic is also available in Spanish.
- Webinars in English and Spanish: L&I is holding informational webinars every month. Look for "Understanding the Changes in Agricultural Overtime Laws" in the "Event Title" pulldown menu.
- Supreme Court ruling: Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Bros. Dairy, Inc.
- ESSB 5172: Agricultural Employees-Overtime Pay
- RCW 49.46.130: Minimum rate of compensation for employment in excess of forty hour workweek
- Administrative Policy ES.A.1: Minimum Wage Act Applicability