On July 19, 2019, former Governor Cuomo signed the Farm Workers Bill, which establishes the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act to protect farm worker rights and ensure equitable housing and working conditions. The bill grants farm workers overtime pay, a day of rest each week, disability and Paid Family Leave coverage, unemployment benefits and other labor protections. The bill took effect on January 1, 2020.
Effective January 1, 2021
Migrant Farm Worker Housing Permit:
Employers are required to contact the NYS Department of Health (or local County Health Department) and apply for a permit to operate a farm or processing labor camp which will be occupied by one or more migrant workers.
For information on the permitting process, please contact the NYS Department of Health at 518-402-7600.
Effective January 1, 2020:
- Wages and Overtime: All farm workers, including Foreign Visa workers, must now be paid one and a half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 60 in a calendar week. For more information, please contact the NYS Department of Labor at 833-NY-FARMS (833-693-2767) or learn more about Wage order.
- Day of Rest: Employers must provide at least one day (24 consecutive hours) of rest in every calendar week. The employer must designate, and notify the worker in advance of, their day of rest and, whenever possible, ensure that the day off coincides with a traditional day for religious worship. Farm workers are permitted to voluntarily work on the day of rest, provided the employer pays them at the overtime rate. Employers must keep a weekly record of hours and days worked. For more information, please contact the NYS Department of Labor at 833-NY-FARMS (833-693-2767) or learn more about Wage order.
- Unemployment Insurance: Farm employers, and farm crew leaders under certain conditions, are required to provide unemployment insurance coverage for their employees. H-2A Foreign Guest Workers are excluded from unemployment insurance coverage. For more information, please contact the NYS Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Employer Hot-line at 888-899-8810.
- Workers' Compensation: Farm employers, owners and operators are required to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees, regardless of their annual payroll, and all employers are required to post the mandatory workers' compensation notice of compliance poster in both English and Spanish. Additionally, farm labor contractors, forepersons and supervisors who receive notice of an injury must notify the employer, owner or operator of the farm where the injury occurred, and employers are prohibited from discriminating against farm laborers who request workers' compensation claim forms. For more information, please contact the Workers' Compensation Board at 877-632-4996 or visit http://www.wcb.ny.gov/.*
- Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave: Farm employers, owners and operators are required to provide New York's disability benefits (DB) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance coverage to eligible farm laborers. Visit PaidFamilyLeave.ny.gov for information on PFL employee eligibility and opt-out waivers that employers must give to those who qualify. All employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who request DB or PFL claim forms. For more information, please call 844-337-6303.*
- *For more information and employer resources related to workers’ compensation, disability benefits and paid family leave, please see the Workers’ Compensation Board’s Toolkit for Farm Employers.
- Right to Organize: Farm workers possess the right to organize, which includes forming, joining, or assisting labor organizations, and the right to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. This includes the right to engage in concerted activities (any activity, discussion, or meeting directed at improving terms and conditions of employment, or the group interests of employees), for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, free from interference, restraint, or coercion of employers. However, farm workers do not have the right to strike. Farm workers are protected from retaliation, including termination, if they are speaking to each other about labor conditions and organizing. For more information, please contact the Public Employment Relations Board at 518-457-6410 or see perb.ny.gov.
To view a slideshow presentation about the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act and the State Employment Relations Act produced by the Public Employment Relations Board - please email [email protected].