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Hochul proposes tax credit plan instead of paying farm workers in same way as grocery workers

Jan 17, 2022 1:56 pm

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that instead of paying farm workers by the same rules as grocery store workers, Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to give agricultural employers a tax credit for overtime labor. Currently, most workers in New York receive overtime benefits after working 40 hours. But farm workers, because of a quirk in history and a weak labor union, only get overtime after 60 hours of work at regular pay. The New York Farm Bureau, a group opposed to paying farm workers in the same way as grocery workers, said they "applaud her for making agriculture a focus of her agenda" that included "sweeping investments." The state's Farm Laborers Wage Board holds its final hearings on this issue later this week. Some advocates for farm workers are skeptical of the tax credit proposal. "If it were a complete subsidy, it would destroy the incentive power to overtime pay to incentivize more reasonable, shorter work weeks," said Paul Sonn, state policy program director for the National Employment Law Project. "Otherwise it won't do anything to help reduce the dangerous work schedules that many (farm) workers face." Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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