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State agrees to a 40-hour work week for farm workers

Oct 03, 2022 1:00 am

Joshua Solomon is reporting for the Times Union that farm laborers will be paid overtime for time worked beyond a 40-hour work week like other workers in 2032 following a decision issued September 30, by state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. Farmers get subsidies to help offset the costs. The decision was celebrated for bringing economic and health equality to the workers but detested by the agricultural industry as another step toward pushing family farms out of business. "This is a difficult day for all those who care about New York being able to feed itself," New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said in a statement. "Commissioner Reardon’s decision to lower the farm labor overtime threshold will make it even tougher to farm in this state and will be a financial blow to the workers we all support." The additional costs to farm owners will be subsidized by New York taxpayers based on tax credits contained in the state budget this year, and farm workers will eventually be paid the same as grocery workers, and other employees. However, the tax credits for farms could be revoked by a new administration. Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, of Long Island, described the tax credit as a "Band-Aid" at an event hosted by a local farmer in Albany County. The farmer, Tim Stanton, said he wouldn't apply for the tax credit from the state because "we don't take anything from the government." Farm laborers currently only get overtime wages after working 60 hours a week, a rule that went into effect in 2020. Before that, farm owners were not required by law to pay their laborers any overtime. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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