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State wage board green lights lower threshold for farmworker overtime

Jan 31, 2022 5:45 am

Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics the Farm Laborers Wage Board at the state Department of Labor January 28, backed a proposal to lower the overtime threshold for agriculture businesses from 60 hours to 40 hours a week. The decision in favor of a phased-in overtime plan was praised by labor advocates, but sharply opposed by organizations that represent farmers. Lowering the overtime threshold could benefit the workers on farms with higher pay. But the New York Farm Bureau and other agriculture-aligned business groups argue the move would hurt smaller producers, lead to higher food prices and out-of-state products while also reducing the number of people they can employ. "Changing the overtime threshold to 40 hours a week for farmworkers in New York means that these workers will be limited to 40 hours, due to simple farm economics," said Grow NY Farms, a coalition of organizations opposed to the change. "This is not a win for farmworkers that self-proclaimed worker advocates will claim." Labor advocates, on the other hand, say farm workers deserve to be paid the same way as everyone else, and get overtime wages after 40 hours of work in a week. The change will not take effect until 2024 and would be phased in over eight years. Some officials, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, are discussing ways of offsetting the cost of the overtime move through tax credits. Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.

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