Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R,I,C-Gowanda) today voted against the “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act” because of the unnecessary financial burden it will place on New York state’s small farms by overhauling labor and compensation laws.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy and our local farmers already are struggling to stay afloat in this current economic downturn. The last thing we should be doing is imposing additional financial burdens on them,” stated Giglio.
New York state already requires that any farm with an annual payroll of more than $1,200 the previous year pay for workers’ compensation; however, the new laws also will extend compensation to disability coverage of workers who may only work during a short growing season. Additionally, the new law establishes eight-hour work days as opposed to 40-hour work weeks, with all additional hours being compensated at time-and-a-half. Lastly, the new legislation will create a required “day off” for farm workers, unless they choose to decline this option. The act will take effect 30 days after being signed into law.
“The growing season in New York is short and the harvesting is labor intensive. To limit daily work hours on farmers creates a situation in which business cannot operate and farms will be forced to shut their doors permanently and leave the state,” said Giglio. “It is important that we protect both the workers and the farms in our area that contribute so greatly to our state’s economy.”