ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – After a series of hearings, the New York State wage board recommended a new overtime threshold for farmers.
While the farm workers will benefit from the overtime pay, farms could take a hit by paying more money out for farm expenses.
Farmworkers average 70-80 hours, but with the new overtime rule dropping the full-time farmer status to 40 hours a week, farmers can’t afford to pay workers 40 hours in overtime pay.
“If we can’t give them those hours, they’re going to go somewhere else where they can get those hours,” said Mark McCullouch, President of the Steuben County Farm Bureau
Most people are under the assumption that farmworkers are heavily underpaid.
“It’s 15 bucks. That’s some of the misconceptions because some people say oh you’re paying those people $3. In order to be competitive we wouldn’t even be able to get them for that,” said McCullouch
It’s becoming more expensive to manage a farm and, make a profit.
“Some of our even our big farms can’t afford the taxes. If you’re a farm owner you’re better off just liquidating,” said Mccullough
The 2 to 1 decision by the wage board agrees to lower the hourly threshold by four hours per week, every two years, beginning in 2024.
However, before all is said and done the board must formally present their proposal before the labor commissioner.