New York state will gradually lower its overtime threshold for farmworkers to 40 hours per week. 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon issued the order Sept. 30, accepting the recommendation of the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board to lower the current 60-hour threshold for overtime pay to 40 hours per week by Jan. 1, 2032. 

“This is a difficult day for all those who care about New York being able to feed itself,” New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said in a statement. “Moving forward, farms will be forced to make difficult decisions on what they grow, the available hours they can provide to their employees and their ability to compete in the marketplace.” 

The new rule mandates that employers pay farm laborers 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of the overtime threshold.

The new overtime rate will be phased in over a 10-year period, with reductions of four hours a week occurring every two years. The reductions will begin Jan. 1, 2024, when the overtime threshold will lower to 56 hours per week. The next reduction, to 52 hours, will occur in 2026, and so on until it reaches 40 hours in 2032.

“New York’s agriculture community is deeply disappointed in commissioner Reardon’s ill-informed decision to lower the overtime threshold for our family farms,” according to a statement from the Grow NY Farms agricultural coalition. “This decision threatens the security of our food supply, the retention of our skilled farmworkers and the future of New York’s farms.”

by Matt Milkovich