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Farm workers in New York still can't get overtime after 40 hours of work

May 12, 2022 12:55 pm

New York State of Politics reports that though the New York Labor Department’s Farm Laborer’s Wage Board voted in January to treat farm workers the same as most other workers, they are still not getting overtime pay after a week of 40 hours of work. “I’m really at a loss as to what is taking so long,” said Richard Witt, executive director of Rural Migrant Ministries. “For years actually, we’ve heard the Farm Bureau and other farmers say that they couldn’t afford this change. And the governor put in the budget a tax credit that would enable them to afford it. So I think the governor has addressed their main concern. So I’m really at a loss as to why this delay.” The Farm Laborers Wage Board still needs to vote to adopt its official report from January, then state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon will have 45 days from when she receives the report to approve it or overturn the vote. Most all workers in New York get overtime pay after 40 hours of work in a week, but not farm workers. “There’s really no moral justification for not treating farm workers the same,” Witt said. “They have families; they need to pay their bills.” Farmers, who would have to pay the overtime rates, are opposed to farm workers being treated the same as grocery store employees. On May 11, the Business Council of New York State, the National Federation of Independent Businesses of New York, and Upstate United sent letters to Gov. Kathy Hochul asking to keep the threshold for farm worker overtime at 60 hours of labor a week. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.