|RELEASE: Labor Department approves final overtime rules for farmworkers. Reaction from Assembly member Angelino.|
|Contact: Press Office|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2023
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FINALIZES FARM WORKER OVERTIME REGULATIONS
The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) today announced the adoption of the final farm labor overtime regulations, codifying Commissioner Reardon’s order that accepted the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s report and recommendations in September. The phased-in, gradual reduction in the overtime pay threshold will begin on January 1, 2024, with the threshold set at 56 hours. The process will continue with the overtime threshold limit reducing by 4 hours every other year until reaching 40 hours in 2032.
“These new regulations ensure equity for farm workers, who are the very backbone of our agriculture sector,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “By implementing a gradual transition, we are giving farmers time to make the appropriate adjustments. These new regulations advance New York State’s continued commitment to workers while protecting our farms.”
Beginning in 2020, the Farm Laborers Wage Board held public hearings to gather testimony from farm owners, workers, advocacy groups, and academic researchers. Recordings of these hearings and additional materials are available on the NYSDOL’s webpage.
In her State of the State Address, Governor Hochul announced a series of new initiatives designed to bolster demand for New York State foods, increase the purchasing of local farm products, and encourage investments to modernize New York’s farms. The Governor and the New York State Legislature also recently enacted new tax credits to assist farm employers to ease the implementation of the lower overtime standard.
The Investment Tax Credit was increased from 4 percent to 20 percent for farm businesses, providing an encouragement for potential automation of farm production.
The Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit was increased to $1,200 per employee to provide near-term relief to farmers.
A refundable tax credit was established for overtime hours paid by farm employers at the level established by the new regulation up to 60 hours.
For more information about the new regulations, visit the Farm Laborers Wage Board webpage.
ANGELINO DISAPPROVES OF DOL DECISION ON FARM OVERTIME
Today, Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C-Norwich) expressed his disapproval of the New York state Department of Labor’s decision to cap farm overtime to 40 hours by 2032. The reduction takes effect in the beginning of 2024 and will be phased in over the next 8 years. Farm workers will now be paid overtime after 40 hours instead of the current 60 hours, resulting in higher costs for farms after 40 hours are worked.
“As the assemblyman for a largely rural district, I can tell you this rule change will be disastrous for our farmers. At a time when the economy is struggling, we should be making it easier for hard-working folks to make a living, not harder. Farmers are the lifeblood of our state, and without them people will go hungry, so not only does this decision affect our great farmers, but also everyone throughout the state,” said Angelino.
This decision will result in extra costs for family-owned farms, many of which are already struggling with high inflation and labor shortages. Adding another burden of higher costs will only make it so more farms are forced out of business.
“It is sad to see that Commissioner Reardon did not listen to the farmers this would impact, if she had, she would realize that those most impacted by this decision do not want it implemented. Farming does not have a set work schedule, so to treat it as any other profession is not only a mistake but is insulting to those involved in it. It appears that Commissioner Reardon has forgotten the motto: "No farms, no food,” concluded Angelino.