Farmers alarmed as NY looks at expanded overtime for workers

SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is looking at lowering the farm worker overtime threshold from 60 hours a week. A state board voted Friday to recommend that a 40-hour overtime rule for farm workers phased in over the next 10 years. If the recommendation is approved by the state labor commissioner, New York would join California and Washington state in phasing in an overtime threshold common in other industries. The prospect is alarming farmers. They warn the extra costs would wipe out marginal farms, hobble others and actually reduce workers’ earnings if farmers cap hours to manage expenses. The labor commissioner can now accept, reject or modify the changes.