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Incoming Lt. Governor among those opposed to lowering farm overtime threshold

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  • Staff Report 

The incoming Lieutenant Governor is among those urging that the threshold for paying farmworkers overtime in New York stay at 60 hours.

Congressman Antonio Delgado,  who’s being sworn in today, sent a letter recently to Governor Kathy Hochul to express his disapproval regarding the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board’s recommendation to lower the farmworker overtime threshold. Delgado said, “Lowering the threshold over the next ten years from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week is not mindful of the dynamics of farming.” 

The Grown NY Farms Coalition says the Business Council of New York State (BCNYS), the National Federation of Independent Businesses of New York (NFIB), and Upstate United have sent letters to Governor Hochul urging her to maintain the overtime threshold at 60 hours on family farms across New York State. 

Threshold will phase in, lowering to 40 hours over several years

Earlier this year, the state wage board ruled that the overtime threshold will be lowered gradually, dropping to 56 hours beginning January 1, 2024, and eventually going to 40 hours by 2032. The threshold was 80 hours under the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act that went into effect in 2020.

Owners of some small family farms say a 40-hour threshold would put them out of business. Governor Kathy Hochul included tax credits for small farmers in this year’s state budget to help offset the potential increase in labor costs.