Lower overtime threshold for farm workers across the state is now in effect

ALBANY, N.Y. — This week marked the start of a lower overtime threshold for farm workers in New York State.

Before, farm workers needed to exceed 60 hours a week to get paid overtime. The state’s Department of Labor approved a measure slowly lower the overtime threshold to 40 hours a week by 2032.

The threshold lowered to 56 hours a week on New Year’s Day. Then, the threshold will lower by four hours every other year until 2032. The Department of Labor commissioner officially adopted the plan in February of 2023.

Here are other policies that have gone into effect since New Year’s Day:

Minimum wage increase: The minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour across New York State including the Rochester area on New Year’s Day.

The minimum wage already hit $15 per hour in New York City in 2019 and Long Island and Westchester in 2021. However, the minimum wage in Upstate New York is still $14.20 per hour. If you don’t see a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, you can file a complaint with the state’s Department of Labor here.

The state implemented a plan in 2016 to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the next eight years. Back in 2016, the statewide minimum wage was only $9.70 per hour.

After the New Year, the minimum wage in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester will rise to $16 per hour. The federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour.

Thruway tolls increase: E-Z pass users will pay 5% more for tolls on the New York State Thruway starting on New Year’s Day.

The state’s Thruway Authority voted in September to raise the Thruway tolls for the first time in 14 years. There will be another 5% toll increase in 2027.

Thruway officials said the funds from the toll hikes will go toward improving infrastructure. Officials said there are $470 million in projects that aren’t currently supported by the existing capital program.

On the Thruway, 85% of roadways date back to the Thruway’s original construction in the 1950. The Thruway has 815 bridges with an average age of 55 years. More than 85 of those bridges have been identified for replacement within the next 10 years.

Expanded access to doula care: The state will implement a Medicaid benefit for doula care, a professional who provides guidance to a pregnant person and their partner, in January 2024.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation in November directing the Department of Health to create a statewide community doula directory. The directory is aimed at ensuring that new and growing families can find a qualified doula who meets their needs.

According to Sen. Samra Brouk’s office, the directory is a critical part of expanding access to doula care for Medicaid recipients. You can read more here.