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Board decision on 40-hour farm overtime proposal coming in September

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The state Farm Laborers Wage Board is expected to issue a decision in September on whether to lower the threshold for paying farm workers overtime to 40 hours per week.

Final decision could come by late October

The Citizen reports the board will meet the day after Labor Day to vote on the proposal. If approved, it would go to Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, who would have 45 days to make the final decision. That means the earliest we’ll see a final decision is late October.

The board gave tentative approval to the 40-hour threshold by a 2-1 vote when it met in January. The “no” vote came from board member David Fisher of New York Farm Bureau.

The proposal is to lower the threshold from the current 60 hours per week over an eight-year period beginning in 2024. Advocates for farmworkers generally favor the plan. Most farmers are against it, saying it will increase their labor costs by an unacceptable amount.

Related: INSIDE THE FLX: Cornell study of ag overtime shows effects of 40 hour threshold (podcast)

Governor Kathy Hochul proposed tax credit to offset payroll increases

Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed tax credits for farmers to offset any increase in payroll costs.

The state first set the overtime threshold for farm workers at 60 hours per week in 2019.

Related: Farmworker advocates applaud new tax credit for farmers in state budget