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This entry was published on 2020-01-10
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Farm laborers wage board
§ 674-a. Farm laborers wage board. 1. Wage board. The commissioner
shall hereby convene a farm laborers wage board. The wage board shall be
comprised of three members: one representative of the farm bureau, one
representative of the New York State AFL-CIO and one member appointed by
the commissioner, who shall be selected from the general public and
designated as chairperson. The wage board shall hold its first hearing
no later than March first, two thousand twenty. The members of the board
shall not receive a salary or other compensation, but shall be paid
actual and necessary traveling expenses while engaged in the performance
of their duties.

2. Organization. Two-thirds of the members of the board shall
constitute a quorum. The chairperson may from time to time formulate
rules governing the manner in which the wage board shall function and
perform its duties under this article.

3. Powers. The wage board shall have power to conduct public hearings.
The board may also consult with agricultural employers and farm
laborers, and their respective representatives, in the occupation or
occupations involved, and with such other persons, including the
commissioner and the commissioner of agriculture and markets, as it
shall determine. The board shall also have power to administer oaths and
to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and
the production of all books, records, and other evidence relative to any
matters under inquiry. Such subpoenas shall be signed and issued by the
chairperson of the board and shall be served and have the same effect as
if issued out of the supreme court. The board shall have power to cause
depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be
taken in the manner prescribed for like depositions in civil actions in
the supreme court. The board shall not be bound by common law or
statutory rules of procedure or evidence.

4. Public hearings. Within forty-five days of the appointment of the
wage board, the board shall conduct public hearings. The wage board
shall only meet within the state and must hold at least three hearings
at which the public will be afforded an opportunity to provide comments.
At least one Spanish language interpreter shall be present at each
public hearing to interpret oral testimony delivered in Spanish. Where a
witness reveals the need for an interpreter in a language other than
Spanish, to the extent practicable, an interpreter in that language
shall be provided. Any materials advertising such hearings shall be
bilingual in English and Spanish. Any written materials disbursed at the
hearing or subsequent to the hearing, including written testimony and
hearing transcripts, shall be available in English, Spanish, and, to the
extent practicable, any other language upon request.

5. Report. The wage board shall make a report to the governor and the
legislature, including its recommendations as to overtime work for farm
laborers. The report and recommendations of the board shall be submitted
only after a vote of not less than a majority of all its members in
support of such report and recommendations. Such report shall be
submitted no later than December thirty-first, two thousand twenty. The
overtime rates recommended by the wage board shall not be in excess of
sixty hours, and the wage board shall specifically consider the extent
to which overtime hours can be lowered below such amount set in law, and
may provide for a series of successively lower overtime work thresholds
and phase-in dates as part of its determinations.

6. The wage board shall consider existing overtime rates in similarly
situated industries in New York state. Nothing contained in the wage
board's report or recommendations shall diminish or limit any rights,
protections, benefits or entitlements currently available to any farm

7. The commissioner shall comply with section six hundred fifty-six of
this chapter upon receipt of the wage board's recommendations. The
commissioner may reconvene the same wage board or appoint a new wage
board in compliance with section six hundred fifty-nine of this chapter.