I think it is time we take a look at OVERTIME. We hear so much about what a great opportunity it can be for employees. Likewise, we hear almost every employer held in fear of what it will do to their profitability. So, as in most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In modern times, overtime became a tool during FDR. The nation was struggling to survive in a world depression. The bread lines were enormous. People were desperate to find any work. No one was demanding to receive overtime. So why would FDR impose overtime on employers who were struggling to survive. The President saw that he needed to somehow get more people to have a job. He felt that if he imposed time and half after 40 hours he would encourage employers to look to employ new faces to fill those hours at the initial pay rate. In short, he was not trying to giv

Paul Baker,
Executive Director

e employees a benefit for working longer. Rather he was trying to get new faces off the breadlines.

Today most all hourly workers have overtime in their portfolio. My question is, what does it really do for them but limit their ability to earn beyond 40 hours? I realize I grew up on a farm. We did not ever discuss our hours or overtime. I also recall being the sole provider for my young family. I was very grateful that I was not limited to 40 hours. It would have dramatically reduced my income potential. So my question for legislators that are concerned about helping the life of hourly employees, is overtime hurting or helping? Thinking outside of the box I could argue that legislators could make the case that they should increase the overtime cap from 40 to 50. This would make it much easier for those workers to support their families if they could simply remain on their primary job longer. To find a second job is very difficult and almost always for a lower hourly wage. I know this is not a current idea but I challenge people to find the flaw in what I am asking.

Agriculture is different. This is a subject that I feel needs to be discussed but on a national stage. My challenge is that before we attack the system in agriculture we take a long creative look at how we might make New York a much better place to work and raise a family. This move alone would encourage new growth in business and attract business to New York State. That would really be a refreshing change.


Save the Date for the 2019 Becker Forum on Farm Labor

Farm worker housing, labor law compliance, and the federal guest worker program (H-2A) are key themes for the 2019 Becker Forum. The event will take place on Monday, January 14 at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, New York. Employer compliance with new sexual harassment prevention laws will also be a prominent topic.

Featured speaker Lynn Jacquez, from the CJ Lake law firm in Washington, DC will address what policy positions to expect from the new Congress and the Administration in the year ahead. She will also address immigration enforcement trends and worksite issues that are important for farm employers.

Three presentations will focus on farm-provided employee housing. Nancy Hagopian from the NYS Department of Health will provide recommendations for improving existing housing. Ed Urbanick from Farm Credit East will discuss financing for construction and renovation of housing. A featured farm employer panel will discuss best practices for managing worker housing.

The forum will also provide information related to the H-2A guest worker program, including how some dairy farms successfully using it to access workers. Current changes in the H-2A program will be reviewed and information will be provided on how to effectively hire foreign-born workers through the program.

Attorney Michael Sciotti from the Barclay Damon Law Firm in Syracuse will inform farm employers about what they must do to comply with New York’s new regulations on sexual harassment prevention policies and training.

At the end of the afternoon there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion regarding critical workforce issues.  For a complete agenda and to register go to http://nysvga.org/expo/information/, or email nysvegetablegrowers@gmail.com.