NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Congresswoman Elise Stefanik expressed her thoughts on Saturday after the Farm Laborers Wage Board recommended lowering the overtime threshold for farmers in New York State.

The threshold is currently set at 60 hours a week and is being recommended to be lowered to 40 hours per week overtime over the next decade. According to the Department of Labors website, the reduction will be phased in over 10 years with reductions of four hours on a biannual basis starting on January 4 of 2024.

In November, Congrewwoman Stefanik sent a letter urging the Board to postpone considering lowering the threshold. In the letter, Stefanik warned that the proposed consideration of lowering the overtime threshold from 60 hours per week would harm North Country farms, raise the labor costs by $264 million per year across the state, lead to higher unemployment, and cause the price of local products to increase.

In her statement on January 29, Congresswoman Stefanik stressed the impact the decision will have on local farms in the North Country.

“This decision by the Farm Laborers Wage Board proves once again how out-of-touch Albany Democrats are with our agricultural community. By lowering the overtime threshold, they are jeopardizing the future of New York’s agriculture industry and putting thousands of farm laborers out of work, increasing the unemployment rate in New York and across the nation,” Congresswoman Stefanik said. “The North Country is home to thousands of dairy farmers, apple growers, and maple producers, who work tirelessly to provide for our communities but will sadly will be forced to bear the burdens of another poor decision made in Albany.”

More information on the decision can be found here.