Legal Services for Farmworkers
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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Short overview of your rights as a farmworker in Washington state. #2906EN
In Washington State, you have these rights:
To be paid the minimum wage. For most workers age 16 and over, the minimum wage in 2020 is $13.50 an hour. (In Seattle, it is at least $15 an hour. In SeaTac, it is $16.34 an hour.) For most children age 15 and under, it is $11.48 an hour. Generally, workers should be paid the minimum wage for piece rate work.
To get your wages when due. Generally, employers must pay you at least twice a month. Some only have to pay once a month. If you are not paid when wages are due, you may be able to file a lien against the employer's crop or orchard. This will improve your chances of getting paid. You must file your lien within 40 days from the last day of work or 40 days from the end of the season. If you need to file a lien, contact a lawyer right away. Read Farmworkers: If the Employer Does Not Pay You, You May File a Lien on the Crop or Orchard You Worked.
To receive a paycheck stub that shows your total hours worked, rate of pay, number of piece work units earned, total pay, pay period, and all deductions. The stub must also show the employer's name, address and phone number.
To get in writing specific information about wages and working conditions before starting most farm jobs. If you are not a migrant worker, you must ask for this information to get it.
To be covered by unemployment insurance if you have worked 680 hours with legal authorization to work in the United States.
To have drinking water, sanitary toilets and handwashing facilities in the field.
To work in an environment free from hazards that can cause grave injuries.
To know which pesticides are being used on the job, their hazards, and how to protect yourself.
To be covered by industrial insurance if you hurt yourself at work. This insurance pays medical costs and time loss.
To get a paid ten-minute rest break for every four hours worked.
To get an unpaid 30-minute meal break if you work more than five hours.
To join with other workers to improve working conditions and wages without being fired or being discriminated against.
To not suffer retaliation or discrimination for exercising these rights.
As a farmworker, you have these and other legal rights. Legal Services has offices that can help you. To learn more, or for an appointment, call:
Northwest Justice Project
300 Okanogan Avenue, Suite 3-A
Wenatchee, WA 98801
311 N. 4th Street, Suite 201
Yakima, WA 98901
(509) 574-4234 or
1814 Cornwall Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225
1310 N. 5th Avenue, Suite B
Pasco, WA 99301
CLEAR Legal Hotline
Columbia Legal Services
600 Larson Bldg.
6 South 2nd Street
Yakima, WA 98901
418 F North Kellogg St.
Kennewick, WA 99336
Other Offices that Provide Services to Farmworkers
For immigration help and enforcement concerns, contact Northwest Immigrants Rights Project.
For wage claims or work injury claims, contact the Department of Labor & Industries
For help with wage claims:
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division
1111 3rd Avenue, Suite 750
Seattle, WA 98101
For help with treatment of pesticide poisoning:
Washington State Poison Control Center
24-hour service with interpreters available.
For problems with unemployment insurance claims:
The Unemployment Law Project
1904 Third Avenue, Suite 604
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 441-9178 / 1-888-441-9178
To apply for food stamps, medical benefits and financial assistance:
Department of Social & Health Services
For housing problems:
Hotline (206) 723-0500
Northwest Fair Housing Alliance
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
for complaints on housing discrimination
For consumer Information:
Consumer Protection Complaints & Inquiries