Assembly members Lupardo, Angelino react to new farm-labor overtime laws

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 7:22 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- New York State lawmakers have changed the overtime rules for farm workers. Currently, the threshold for overtime for farm workers is 60 hours per week, but the new legislation will gradually decrease the number to 40 hours a week by 2032.

Assemblyman Joe Angelino (R,121) and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D, 123) both see the new farm overtime rules as something that will create financial challenges for small local farms in their districts.

Angelino said the agriculture industry has certain situations that make it impossible for workers to clock in standard 8-hour shifts, like other jobs.

“When there’s a nice day, farmers are going to try to use every second of that daylight to try to work,” said Angelino. “This is not like any other factory job it just can’t be squeezed in and work an 8-hour shift and send people home.”

Lupardo said because of the negative financial effects local farmers will face, a goal of hers is to make sure the community is supporting them.

“I’m interested in raising awareness about local farmers and helping people support our local farmers at our farmer’s markets and in any way possible to give them the gratitude that they deserve,” said Lupardo.

Angelino said a solution to help farmers would be to make overtime seasonal.

“If it’s scheduled maintenance on vehicles in the winter they could schedule a 40-hour week,” said Angelino. “When it comes time to harvest and animals giving birth there are certain times of the year that other states have no overtime rules.”

Lupardo said her solution would be overtime rules on a national level so New York State farmers aren’t put at a disadvantage.

“I do think they should be paid overtime but I think it should be a national approach,” said Lupardo. “When we have states with lower national minimum wages and we have farm policies that hurt farmers in general it’s hard for one state to be an outlier when it comes to this.”