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N.Y. Farm Workers Poised To Receive Overtime Benefits

Mike Groll/Associated Press
Farm workers plant strawberries at Yonder Fruit Farms in Valatie, N.Y.

New York lawmakers will hold three virtual hearings this month to decide how many hours farm employees must work to receive overtime. The first hearing is this Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The state Farm Laborers Wage Board will have the authority to set a threshold for a new law that took effect in January to pay farm workers overtime. The proposed threshold is working a 60-hour-week to start making time-and-a-half.

Farm workers have never received overtime before. Some farm owners on Long Island say they can’t afford it because their business is seasonal.

Their recommendations would have to be approved by state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon before February 2021.

Hearings are also scheduled for Thursday and next Monday at noon.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.