- Written by Susannah L. Ashton
The Washington Supreme Court today issued its decision in Demetrio, et al. v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc. At issue was whether agricultural employees who work on a pure piece rate basis be paid separately for their breaks, and if so, how?
Sakuma Brothers Farms (“Sakuma”), a berry farm in Northwest Washington State, were sued in 2013 for failing to provide paid rest breaks, providing all compensation, and keeping poor wage statements. They settled with the Plaintiffs in June 2014 for all retroactive claims, but failed to agree on whether, going forward, Sakuma must compensate its piece rate agricultural workers separately for rest breaks, or whether rest break pay is already built into the piece rate wages.
The matter went to the Washington Supreme Court in March of this year. Counsel for the plaintiffs argued what Californians may recognize as the “Julie Su” argument – that is, that employers must create an incentive for its workers to rest, and that this may be accomplished by compensating them at a rate beyond the piece rate. In response, Sakuma’s counsel argued that compensating workers separately for rest breaks would amount to extra compensation.
- Written by Carl Larson
The long-awaited amendments to the paid sick leave (“PSL”) law have arrived. They make a good number of clarifications, change calculations of sick pay, provide a grandfather clause for pre-existing PTO plans, and lays out how it affects certain state employees. Although the amendments still do not explain how the “24 hours or 3 days of sick leave” translates for employees working 10 hour regular shifts, it is a welcome change from the previous version of the law.
A breakdown of the changes is as follows: