The New York State Department of Labor finalized farm worker overtime regulations yesterday, February 22nd. This finalization codifies Commissioner Reardon’s order that accepted the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s report and final recommendation.
“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.
The overtime pay threshold will begin on January 1st of next year (2024), with the threshold being set at 56 hours. This threshold will gradually reduce the amount of hours needed for overtime pay by reducing the threshold by 4 hours every other year until it reaches 40 hours in the year 2032.
Concerns were raised about lowering the threshold for farm workers with arguments of farmers currently snuggling through high costs due to inflation, high unemployment insurance taxes, and worker shortage.
NY Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt released a statement regarding the outcome:
“Today’s announcement by the Commissioner of Labor is the wrong one. The push to lower the threshold to 40 hours per week, despite concerns raised by farmers and farm workers, is exactly what this labor board was planning all along. Their pledges to work with all parties involved in this matter were disingenuous, and today, they displayed that they had zero interest in working together.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, though, has announced that the state will offer new tax credits to assist farm employers to help ease the implementation of the lower overtime standard. The tax credit was recently increased from 4% to now 20% for farm businesses. The state also increased the Farm Workforce Retention Tax Credit to $1,200 per employee.