Contact workers carry pinot noir grapes from a lot at Stoller Family Estate in Dayton in October.

A bill that requires agricultural employers to pay their workers overtime takes effect Jan. 1, and some farmers already are trying to find ways around it.

“We told our guys they’re not going to get overtime,” said Anne Krahmer-Steinkamp, a blueberry farmer in Albany.  

It’s not that she doesn’t think her workers don’t deserve fair pay, she said. But she and other farmers say they will not be able to afford to pay 150% of their hourly rates.

Farmers have warned that instead, they will cut hours or mechanize some of their processes, resulting in fewer hours and lower wages for farmworkers.

The policy will be phased in over five years. For the first two, starting in 2023, farm operators will be required to pay workers time-and-a-half for any hours worked past 55 in a week. Starting in 2025, that threshold will drop to 48 hours a week for another two years. By 2027, farmers will have to pay time-and-a-half for any hours in a week worked past 40.



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