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The NY State Legislature is considering a bill that would require Agricultural Employers to pay their labor force in a similar manner to that of other businesses, specifically overtime after a certain number of hours and a specific number of days of work before a day off.

So, my question to my fellow commercial beekeepers is, if you had to pay overtime after 40 hours in a week and/or after 8 hours in a day would that be a problem for you? Maybe you already do this. Are six and seven day weeks common in your outfit?

An apple grower told me that he'd probably go out of business if the legislature passes the labor act currently being considered.
 

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Sounds like just another way for big brother to squeeze out a few more bucks from somebody else. The end consumer will have to pay the price for food products that are already sky high.

G3
 

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No, I don't think so. It will cause our reliance on forgein sources of food to come faster. And I don't think that we pay enough for food in this country compared to other countries.

The price of farm labor and other costs of production do not determine what the consumer pays for the food that they buy at the grocery store. An increased cost in labor or seed or trees or chemicals or pollination doesn't not directly translate into a higher price for a product to the grower. They can't just pass the price along. No more so than a honey producer can demand a higher price from the packer that they sell honey to.
 

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If the government tries to regulate us more than they already do by forcing higher wages, I'll just get rid of all of my 1 full time employee and do all the work myself with my kids and run less bees. Don't get me wrong, I believe in paying good wages for good work, I don't scrimp. But, out of priciple, I won't put up with more taxes and regulations.
 

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The NY State Legislature is considering a bill that would require Agricultural Employers to pay their labor force in a similar manner to that of other businesses, specifically overtime after a certain number of hours and a specific number of days of work before a day off.
its about time they did this. all these h1b's, h2bs that come here to work would probably stay home if they only could work 5 days 40 hrs as the farmer wouldn't pay the overtime. THen all these kids up here that have no place to work would be able to do like we did as a kid, pick apples, vegetables etc.
they do air condition those fields right? gee i don't know nice and easy is air conditions, pays more and all I have to do is stand and stock shelfs:scratch:

but any way the state needs the extra tax money, no wait, the farms will request more aid from the state, might lose money:scratch:

gee mayby if the state puts all the farmers out of buisness, and doesn't have to give them all state aid we will save money:scratch:

to much to think about I'm going and get a cold one:applause:

mike syracus <--- i think I allready had one
 

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lol. If you have one good enough to work 60 hours like a dog does it matter? You could just rout the entire situation and pay salary. On another note, more people working just to cut hours is haphazard, it means you have more "problems" running around to mess things up. I personally don't think a 40 hour work week is alot of work, and if I really had alot of bees to run I would expect it would be like follow the bloom, alot of 4 hour nights, and plenty of 60 hour weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would just find more part time people so I do not have any one person with more then 30 hours. Manage your people for your bottom line. If they are worth overtime then that is a different story.
Easier said than done.
 

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I agree with Mark it is MUCH easier said than done finding more people and putting them on part time. They are not exactly standing in line. It is relatively easy to get someone to do the gofer jobs and even to do extracting but to get someone who can work in the bees is much more difficult.
As for H2A and such, the reason they are here is because they are needed. We have advertised til blue in the face locally and had very poor results. Beekeeping is hard work, and there is a fairly steep learning curve. It isn't like "picking apples".
Pay isn't the problem, overtime pay wouldn't even be the problem, as mentioned before, the right person/s would easily warrant a salary. The problem is finding quality people willing to do the job in the first place.
Sheri
 

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I agree finding someone to work the bees the way I want them to work them is hard. Maybe it is my location but I almost have a never ending supply of part time beekeepers willing to work for me. Two reasons is to learn more or develop their own skills. Getting them up to speed with good direction is the key to being a good leader with happy helpers.

I do know beekeepers that can not find help but that is because they treat the workers so bad that the word is out not to work for them. Not that it would be anyone on this board....
 

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If only "bad employer" beekeepers had trouble finding help there wouldn't be the hundreds, perhaps thousands of out of country workers that there are. I know many who's out of country workers come back year after year. I don't think this would be the case if they were so hard to work for.

We have hobbyist/sideliner beekeepers as well, that want to work a day or two, that want to come up to split for nucs, make packages etc for a couple days or to try their hand at making queens. I do not count these as labor, they are more like friends.
At a certain point, determined basically by numbers of hives, there is too much bee work for the 'beekeeper', so he needs knowledgeable every day help: knowledgeable in bee work and knowledgeable in a basic production/commercial operation, willing to commit to working full time from (in our case) March/April to November. This is what is hard to find, not the gofers, not the tourists.
Commercials have enough headaches without trying to coordinate a bunch of part time workers who may or may not be there when needed. We need them every day. Training new help is an investment of money and time on our part. We are not a beekeeping school, and we don't do this for entertainment, we would like a return on that investment. Better to train 2 or 3 and offer them full time work than 5 or 6 and try to coordinate around their other jobs.
If it comes to being regulated into paying overtime, so be it, that wouldn't influence us to cut back on bees to lesson our labor needs. We personally don't have many weeks that would be a problem and those when it is required it would be worth it to us. While we would certainly have more incentive to hire locals to do simple "non beekeeping" stuff, most employees that we have had would rather be paid extra straight time themselves than have those hours go to another worker.
Sheri
 

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Why can't beekeepers hire their help as subcontractors? Have them fill out a W-9, and pay them a daily rate, percentage, whatever you work out. Give your hired man a 1099 at the end of the year, and he pays his own taxes when he files.

I worked in the commercial fishing industry for 12 years before getting into bees, and this is the way that industry works. Every deckhand is paid this way, and absolutely no thought what so ever is given to "overtime". I really do not see too many differences between the two livelihoods. Are beekeepers with hired help not allowed to do this?
 

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Hiring them as subcontractors would have some tax advantages, but I was under the impression (maybe wrongly, I am no tax expert) that there were certain tests to determine who is a contractor. If they work for others, use their own tools, if they set their own hours, if their "place of business" is other than your property etc you might qualify. From what I can see, and what my tax guy tells me none of our help qualifies as contractors, only true employees. I am surprised fishing deckhands qualify. Is this a state defined thing?
Sheri
 

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As someone mentioned earlier, paying salary rather than hourly is how most companies get free overtime out of their employee's. Just set a monthly salary for you're good full time employees.
 

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Problem is, beekeeper spots in this area are only paying about 10/hr, not nearly enough to pay my bills.

Maybe I'll work up an advertisement in the help offered sectioned, can you do that?

Big Bear
 

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Sheri,

I fished in Alaska, and worked on and captained different types of fishing vessels out of Southeast Connecticut that fished throughout the Northeast. W-9, subcontractor method of paying deckhands is industry standard. No vessel owners that I know of pay their crews any differently. The guy picked up at the bar/ off the street the night before a trip with no experience is paid the same way as the career fisherman with years of experience, just not on the same level obviously. Pay is usually based on a percentage of the trip, but it can be a day rate.
 

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Sheri - just a thought, your bees are not all on your own land, in fact I would guess that most of them are on other farmer's land. So when the boys set out in the morning, they are in effect "going out to sea", in a vessel that you provide, with a catch that is to be determined. I can sea parrellels.

Roland
 

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I think the problem finding good help in beekeeping is the same as for most any aspect of agriculture, but possibly to a larger scale.

If they are good enough to not need babysitting and are motivated, they usually have the desire to farm for themselves. And it is a lot easier/cheaper for someone to get into beekeeping starting from scratch than it is to start farming from scratch. Catch a few swarms and you can get started beekeeping - but you better inherit a ton of land and equipment if you want to become a farmer.
 
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