In 2019, New York State enacted The Farm Laborers Fair Practices Act that provides expansive new workplace mandates on agriculture employers in New York. NFIB vigorously opposed this legislation, arguing that seasonality and weather-dependent business models for farmers and growers in New York could not support onerous and costly new mandates.
The law also created a new entity charged with making future decisions regarding several key provisions of the law that could not be agreed to initially. The Farm Labor Wage Board conducted several hearings this fall to evaluate – and strengthen – the still novel law, with a primary focus on reducing the 60-hour overtime threshold to as low as 40 hours-per-week.
NFIB provided testimony to the Farm Board in October reinforcing our original objections but also arguing that the economic impact of the new law on agri-business could not be understood or evaluated after such a short period of implementation, and that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cloud the state’s broader economy, including agriculture, with unprecedented uncertainty.
The Farm Labor Wage Board announced on December 31, 2020 that it concurs with NFIB’s arguments and recommended no changes to the current 60-hour overtime threshold. The recommendation did state that the board would revisit the threshold next year, at which point NFIB will again be prepared to advocate on behalf the state’s small businesses, farmers, and growers.