New York State’s proposal to reduce the overtime threshold for ag workers from 60 to 40 hours per week is meeting resistance from farm employers.

“If that should happen, we have heard some workers may choose to leave New York State to find employment elsewhere where they can get the hours they need,” New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher, a dairy farmer, has said.

That reflects some workers’ perception that employers will cap them at 40 hours per week to avoid paying overtime, which advocates have said could result in lower overall earnings.

Looking for the best, most comprehensive and balanced news source in agriculture? Our Agri-Pulse editors don't miss a beat! Sign up for a free month-long subscription.

The change would be phased in, echoing the strategy in California where overtime after 40 hours became law this year for even the smallest employers. That move led sheep ranchers to file a lawsuit against the state, claiming sheepherders, who had always been classified separately because of the round-the-clock nature of their work, should not be included in the overtime law.

Washington State is phasing in new ag overtime rules and the Oregon legislature passed a bill last month to do the same.

For more news, go to