Farmers Will Be Excluded From Workplace Rules

Farmers Will Be Excluded From Workplace Rules

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Will farmers face new rules in the workplace?

State Assemblywoman Addie Jenne says the answer is no - an answer she got from the state agriculture commissioner during an Assembly Agriculture Committee public hearing.

Jenne (D. - 116th District) says Commissioner Richard Ball told her that farmers are not included in new workplace rules scheduled to take effect in January.

Those rules include work schedules two weeks in advance and extra pay for being called to work on short notice, being on-call or being canceled.

Assemblywoman Jenne raised her concern about the workplace scheduling regulation changes on the agriculture and tourism sectors during Commissioner Ball's testimony.

"Can we tweak these regulations to sectors such as agriculture held hostage by Mother Nature," she asked.

According to Jenne, Commissioner Ball said he had discussed the issue with state Department of Labor officials. "It is my understanding agriculture will not be impacted by these new regulations," he said, noting he was uncertain of impacts on the tourism sector.

Assemblywoman Jenne said she was pleased to hear agriculture was being carved out of workplace scheduling regulations that could be onerous for farmers in the North Country and around the state.

"That's good news. We can make hay while the sun is shining," she said in a news release. "Hopefully this signals an acknowledgment that a one size fits all approach is not the solution and that concerns from all sectors are considered and addressed before final regulations are adopted. That's what my business community is asking for and that is a reasonable request."

The proposed regulations would expand existing reporting pay of at least four hours to include last-minute cancellations and assignments and on-call shifts requiring workers to be on stand-by to come into work under the proposed regulations, according to the Department of Labor.

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