As the saying goes, "Ignorance of the law" is no excuse. And not knowing the new Farm Labor law could land you hot water. Here are the basics and where you can get some help understanding the rest of them.

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With the calendar rolling to 2020, New York's Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practice Act signed by Governor Cuomo officially went into effect. Briefly, this is what went into effect:

  • Overtime pay for hours worked over 60 hours per calendar week
  • Employers must provide one day of rest per calendar week.
  • Required to provide unemployment insurance: Workers’ Compensation, Disability, and Paid Family Leave

Overtime pay is the usual time-and-a-half over the 60 hours. On the one day of rest, the employee can voluntarily work, but they must be compensated at the overtime pay rate.  The Paid Family Leave benefit is a little trickier. Eligible employees must have access to 10 weeks of job-protected, paid time off. The term eligible is where it really gets complicated.

  • Employees who work 20 or more hours/week: eligible after 26 weeks of employment
  • Employees who work less than 20 hours/week: eligible after 175 days worked

Part-time and seasonal workers may not be eligible and those not working the 20 hours for 26 consecutive weeks. Paid leave covers time to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to assist loved ones when a family member is deployed on active military service.

Fuzzy yet? Well hang on, there's paperwork too. Employers must keep a weekly record of hours and days worked. Plus there are payroll deductions and even if the employee opts out of the paid leave there's paperwork too. Here's more on New York's Family Paid Leave Act.

Want some help figuring out this mess? Here are two contact options; Marylynn Collins at Cornell Cooperative Extension (315) 736-3394 Ext. 132 email mrm7@cornell.edu or The New York Farm Bureau 315-252-1367 or email jwilliamson@nyfb.org