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Home » Valentine's Day » NYS farmers urge Gov. Hochul to keep overtime at 60 hours for agricultural workers

NYS farmers urge Gov. Hochul to keep overtime at 60 hours for agricultural workers

Hundreds of farmers, farmworkers, and independent researchers from Cornell University and Farm Credit East participated in virtual Farm Laborers Wage Board hearings in January.

Participants submitted video and written testimony, and spoke publicly during hearings on January 4, 18, and 20 to explain why the overtime threshold for New York agriculture must stay at 60 hours. 

RELATED: Overtime laws for agricultural works may change, tax credit planned to relieve burden on farmers.

There was such a large turnout of registrations for testimony that the Farm Laborers Wage Board scheduled an additional hearing for Friday, January 28 at 2 p.m. At the first three hearings, 66% of those who testified on January 4, 74% on January 18, and 77% on January 20 asked the Wage Board to keep the threshold at 60 hours.

“Since the 60-hour threshold was implemented, we’ve hired an additional 16 H2A workers to limit overtime. We’ve spent about $200,000 recruiting more workers and constructing more housing in order to have enough workers to get everything done. This level of expense is unsustainable if the overtime threshold was further lowered.” said Karin Reeves, a fifth generation grower in Baldwinsville, Onondaga County.

“Ultimately though, this is about our employees. They’re not asking for these changes. They make a great sacrifice to leave their families for 4-6 months every year and their goal is to work as many hours as they can. This is a quality-of-life issue for them. They decide to work extra hours here during the summer so they can enjoy a better quality of life during the off-season when they’re with their families. Please keep the threshold where it is today,” continued Reeves.