Farmworkers in Oregon will earn overtime pay starting next year under a bill passed by the Legislature last week.

The state's Senate voted 17-10 in favor of the bill March 3 two days after the House approved it. Under the phased-in legislation, employees will have to work 55 hours per week in 2023 and 2024 to be eligible for time-and-a-half wages. The threshold drops to 48 hours a week in 2025-2026, and then to 40 hours per week in 2027.

The state becomes the eighth in the nation to offer some type of overtime compensation for farmworkers, though the regulations vary. In Washington, for example, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill last year that would phase in overtime after 40 hours by 2024. California’s law requiring time-and-a-half pay began applying to employers of 26 or more workers this year and to smaller employers in 2025.

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Although no other states appear to be considering action on overtime at the moment, regulations published in Colorado are being challenged by Farmworker Justice and other groups.

In a lawsuit filed in state court last month, they “assert the multiple exemptions to the already inequitable 60-hour workweek for farmworkers, including those applicable to seasonal employers and small farms,” do not comply with the purpose of a law enacted last year by the Colorado Legislature.

And in New York, a state wage board recently recommended that the state’s labor commissioner lower the threshold for farmworkers to receive overtime pay from 60 hours per week to 40. 

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