A major change has taken place for piece-rate workers in Washington. The Washington Supreme Court decided in March of 2015 that piece-rate workers are entitled to receive wages during their rest periods. Not only are piece-rate workers entitled to rest period pay, they must receive the greater of either their regular rate of pay or minimum wage. Moving forward, agricultural employers who employ piece-rate workers may need to change their practices to comply with the holding of the case.
Pursuant to these new rules, agricultural employers must provide workers with a full, uninterrupted 10-minute break in each four-hour period of work. In addition, employers must pay piece-rate workers separate compensation for their rest period, and the separate payments must be based on the regular rate of pay or minimum wage, whichever is greater. To compute the regular rate, the employer must divide the total compensation earned in a workweek by the total active hours of work (not including the break time). Then, the employer must use the greater of their regular rate of pay or minimum wage, and multiply it by the amount of time the worker spends on rest periods. This amount should be added to the piece-rate workers weekly pay. For more information on compliance, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries has issued a helpful Administrative Policy.
If you still have questions, please contact the attorneys at Samuels Yoelin Kantor, LLP. We provide employers with advice and representation for a wide variety of legal issues. Our attorneys practicing employment law advise employers on how to avoid problems. We represent employers in State and Federal court, as well as in administrative proceedings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Oregon State Wage and Hour Division.