Sarah Wixson Comments on Piece-Rate Pay Guidelines

May 23, 2016

Related Practices: Agriculture and Employment

Shareholder Sarah Wixson was quoted in an article about pending guidelines for rest break pay for piece-rate workers that appeared in the May 15 issue of Good Fruit Grower. Last year, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that piece-rate workers were entitled to paid rest breaks. Employers have since been seeking answers on how best to comply with the decision. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has issued some guidelines to help answer employer questions. Examples of the guidelines include:

  • Growers wanting to pay by the hour but offer a bonus for certain productivity levels must include the bonus amount when determining the rest-break rate.
  • Workers and employers may not agree to a piece-rate contract that would pay rest-break rates lower than their productivity.
  • Workers shifting between hourly and piece-rate chores must receive rest break pay at the rate of what they were doing when they took the break.

"Those who see the changes coming are going to be in a much better position than those who are caught totally unaware," Sarah was quoted as saying in the article. "We’re trying to keep farmers from getting sued."