Category Archives: Labor & Employment

Meal and Rest Break Requirements for Agriculture

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Background: The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has adopted separate regulations applicable to agricultural and non-agricultural labor. Regulations related to agricultural labor are in WAC 296-131, while regulations for non-agricultural labor are in WAC 296-126. See below for more details about these regulations.

Meal Periods: Employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal period when working at least five consecutive hours. The 30-minute meal period should begin no less than two hours, and not more than five hours, from the beginning of the shift. Employees working three or more hours longer than a normal work day (eight hours) must be allowed another 30-minute meal period during the overtime period. Meal periods are on the employee’s time and do not need to be paid by the employer.

Unlike non-agricultural employees, an agricultural employee likely cannot waive the right to a meal period. This stipulation is due to the differing language in the non-agricultural regulation. The best practice is to require all employees to take and record meal periods.

Rest Periods: Employees are entitled to a 10-minute rest period, on the employer’s time, for each four hours of work time. “On the employer’s time” means that the employee must be paid for the 10-minute rest period. Rest period requirements apply to overtime periods as well. Continue reading Meal and Rest Break Requirements for Agriculture

New Form I-9 Required Starting September 18, 2017

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers will be required to use the new version of the form (dated 07/17/17) starting September 18, 2017. The new form applies to new hires only. Employers should not complete new Forms I-9 for current employees. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

The fillable PDF version of the new Form I-9 can be found here.

The paper version of the new Form I-9 can be found here.

Supplemental I-9 materials from USCIS are available here. Continue reading New Form I-9 Required Starting September 18, 2017

Overview of SSB 5975 – Paid Family and Medical Leave

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Background: Following prolonged discussions between the business community and worker advocates, the Legislature in 2017 amended the state’s family and medical leave insurance program. That program was first passed in 2007 but never funded. The issue of paid family leave continued to poll extremely well across all demographics statewide. Legislators believed failure to find a legislative solution in 2017 would likely result in a statewide initiative backed by organized labor and likeminded social groups.

Bill Summary: SSB 5975 made substantial policy changes to the state family and medical leave insurance program and provided a funding mechanism. The chart below summarizes many of the provisions of SSB 5975. Continue reading Overview of SSB 5975 – Paid Family and Medical Leave