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Overtime threshold for farm workers becomes official in NY

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Labor 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 1st, 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.