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Action Alert: Submit Testimony to the Farm Laborers Wage Board

Under the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act signed into law in 2019, farmworkers became entitled to overtime premium pay starting on January 1, 2020, for any work that they perform in excess of 60 hours per week, and for work performed on their designated day of rest.

As part of that act, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) is required to convene a wage board to hold hearings and make recommendations as to overtime work and, specifically, the extent to which the overtime threshold for farm laborers can be lowered below 60 hours per week and whether any such reductions should be phased in through a series of successively lower thresholds.

NOFA-NY Members have not taken an official position on the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act since it was passed into law, and we recognize our members may have differing opinions on the overtime provision. However, we encourage our members, farmworkers, and farm owners to submit testimony to the wage board to ensure implementation of this new law is informed by your on-the-ground experience.

Minutes from previous hearings are available in English and Spanish on the NYS DOL website. Written testimony will be accepted by the Wage Board until October 31, 2020.

Here’s what we recommend you include in your letter:

  1. Short description of the farm you manage or work on
  2. The number of employees on your farm (full-time, part-time, hired, volunteer, seasonal, and/or year-round)
  3. How many hours per week employees work – do they work over 60 hours? If so, how much is that costing the farm in additional wages? If not, does the farm not need more than 60 hours of work, or did the farm change hiring practices to avoid having to pay overtime?
  4. Do you think the regulations should remain as written, at 60 hours?
  5. What change in the labor regulations would you be willing to accept? (For example, overtime pay for hours works over 40 hours per week? Over 48 hours per week? Other?
  6. Any other input you think would be helpful to the wage board

If you choose to submit testimony, please consider cc-ing NOFA-NY’s Policy Advisor, Liana Hoodes (policy@nofany.org) on your email.

NOFA-NY sends action alerts when an important issue is coming up for a vote either at the State or Federal level in an effort to encourage members and concerned citizens to contact their representatives. To receive action alerts by email, sign up for our eNews on the right side of this page.

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