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What minimum rates of pay are agricultural workers entitled to?

It depends where they work.

  • Scottish workers are entitled to the rates set by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board. Agricultural wage rates can be higher than national minimum wage rates.
  • Agricultural workers in England employed after 1 October 2013 are entitled to the national minimum wage.
  • Agricultural workers in Wales, and those employed in England before 1 October 2013 if their contract provides for it, are entitled to the agricultural wage rates specified on the UK Government website.

Agricultural wages in Scotland

On 1 October 2015, the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order (No.63) 2015 came into force, increasing the minimum rates of pay that agricultural workers are entitled to. These rates apply to all types of worker and irrespective of what kind of work is carried out. The Scottish Government has published a guide to help employers and workers understand the changes which can be accessed here.

The new headline rates agreed by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board are:

  • A minimum hourly rate of £6.70 for all workers in the first 26 weeks of employment (an increase of 20p per hour).
  • A minimum hourly rate of £7.24 for all workers employed for more than 26 weeks by the same employer (an increase of 10p per hour).
  • A minimum hourly rate of £10.05 for overtime (payable after working more than 8 hours on any day and for more than 39 hours in any week) for all workers in the first 26 weeks of employment (an increase of 30p per hour).
  • A minimum hourly overtime rate of £10.86 for all workers employed for more than 26 weeks by the same employer (an increase of 15p per hour).
  • A minimum hourly rate of £4.02 for workers who undertake a Level 2 modern apprenticeship in agriculture/horticulture (an increase of 6p per hour).
  • An additional sum of £1.10 per hour payable to workers who have been with the same employer for more than 26 weeks and who have an appropriate qualification in agriculture or production horticulture (an increase of 2p per hour).

It is anticipated that the Order will be amended early next year, to ensure that the minimum rates comply with the new living wage which comes into force in April 2016.

UPDATE: October 2016

Since we wrote this blog, the minimum rates for agricultural workers have increased, as a result of the introduction of the living wage in April 2016 and the increase in other national minimum wage rates from October 2016. The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board has also proposed a new single minimum hourly rate of £7.50 to apply from April 2017 to all agricultural workers in Scotland irrespective of age and duties (equal to the national living wage).

The rates in Scotland from October 2016 are:

  • £6.95 for workers aged up to and including 24 in the first 26 weeks of employment.
  • £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over in the first 26 weeks of employment.
  • £7.24 per hour regardless of age after 26 weeks of employment.
  • Overtime must be paid when a worker works for more than 8 hours on any day or for more than 39 hours in any week. The minimum hourly rate of payment for overtime is the minimum hourly rate of pay to which the worker is entitled multiplied by 1.5.
  • A minimum hourly rate of £4.02 for the first 12 months for workers who are undertaking a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in agriculture/horticulture – thereafter the minimum hourly rate is the over 26 week rate (£7.24) .
  • An additional sum of £1.10 per hour payable to workers who have certain appropriate qualifications.

Users of Workbox, the employment team’s online HR site, can access continually updated information on current rates, along with FAQs on the trickier aspects of calculating the minimum wage, in the Minimum Wage section of the site.

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