September 9, 2015
Flat Rate Technicians: Paid Rest Breaks
On July 16, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court decided that employers of “piece rate” workers must pay those workers an additional amount for the two ten-minute rest breaks required in an eight-hour work day. Although the case (Demetrio v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc.) involved a regulation applied to piece rate farm workers, an identical regulation applies to auto dealer employees and service technicians who are paid by the job on a “flat rate” or “flag rate.”
The Court held that the employer must pay the piece rate employees for the rest break time at their regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay is determined by dividing the total compensation for the pay period by the number of hours actually worked during that pay period (not including the rest breaks). The Court did not decide whether this new rule will be applied retroactively.