New York - Workers’ Rights

Definition of agricultural worker under state law:

• Under NY state labor law,“‘[e]mployee’ includes any individual employed or permitted to work by an employer on a farm. . . .” (N.Y. LAB. LAW § 671(2)) The term “farm” includes stock, dairy, poultry, furbearing animal, fruit and truck farms, plantations, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, or other similar structures, used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities.” (N.Y. LAB. LAW § 671(1))
• “Agricultural employer” is defined at N.Y. LAB. LAW § 701(2)(b).

Wages and Overtime

Minimum Wage

• Agricultural workers are covered by the state minimum wage. (N.Y. LAB. LAW § 673). There is a specific Act that protects the wages of farmworkers: Minimum Wage Standards and Protective Labor Practices for Farmworkers. (N.Y. LAB. LAW §§ 670 – 683) Additionally, the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act (passed in 2019) altered the definition of “Employee” by removing “in labor on a farm” as an exception to employee. (N.Y. LAB. LAW § 651)

Overtime

• The recently passed Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act (passed in 2019) grants overtime compensation for farmworkers at one and one-half times their regular rate for hours worked over 60 hours in any calendar week, beginning in January 2020. (N.Y. LAB. LAW § 163-a)

 

State Enforcement Agency

New York State Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards

Website: https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/ls_ContactUs.shtm

Occupational Safety and Health

Workers’ Compensation

State Enforcement Agency:
New York Workers’ Compensation Board

Website: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/
Relevant Forms: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Forms.jsp

Field Sanitation

State Enforcement Agency:
Department of Labor

Website: https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/

Pesticide Safety

State Enforcement Agency:
New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/298.html

Right to Join Unions and Collective Bargaining in Agriculture

State Legal Services Organizations

Cornell Law School Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic
https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/Clinical-Programs/Farmworker-Legal-Assistance/index.cfm

Justice in Motion
http://www.globalworkers.org/

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Farmworker Law Project
http://www.lasmny.org/

Worker Justice Center of New York, Inc.
https://www.wjcny.org/