ALBANY — New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher will be one of the three appointed members of the wage board announced to consider whether agriculture can withstand a lower overtime threshold beyond the current 60-hour work week.
What will be especially challenging for farmers and their employees alike is the timing of the statutorily required hearings. The law directs the wage board to hold its first meeting by March 1 with a report due by December of this year. It will be incredibly difficult for board members to reasonably determine if the overtime threshold should be justifiably lowered. Farmers have just started to implement changes on their farms to comply with the new law and are still determining what is best for their small businesses and employees. Further, crops are not even in the ground for the spring planting season, let alone having no real-world examples of how this new law will impact harvest season. This short window of time also does not allow any ability to see how different growing conditions due to extreme weather can impact overtime needs.
New York Farm Bureau strongly believes it will take data from multiple growing seasons to appropriately evaluate the economic realities and labor challenges facing New York agriculture as a result of the new overtime threshold implemented only weeks ago. And until that can happen, it should not be lowered.
New York Farm Bureau appreciates that the Department of Labor accepted our organization’s suggestion to hold the wage board hearings in areas of the state that provide easier access for the farming community to attend. We highly encourage our members to take the time to speak at one of the hearings or submit public comments to help better inform the wage board members.
–New York Farm Bureau
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