It is estimated that approximately 1% of all employed individuals are employed in the agricultural sector and, often, these workers have different rights. The law surrounding employment terms and conditions for agricultural and horticultural workers in England changed in October 2013, so all agricultural workers who commenced employment on or after 1st October 2013 will have different rights to those who started employment before this date. This blog sets out some of the common differences and highlights where agricultural employers need to be clear with their contract drafting.
Agricultural workers employed before 1st October 2013 still have the right to Agricultural Minimum Wage if their contract stipulates this. In Wales, Agricultural workers must be paid the higher of either the Agricultural Minimum Wage or National Minimum Wage.
The Agricultural Minimum Wage depends on a worker's job grade and category. A grade is based on the worker's skills and responsibilities, and the category depends on their duties, responsibilities and/or qualifications. More information can be obtained from the Government website regarding grades and categories.
Agricultural workers in England employed on or after 1st October 2013 must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum hourly rate wage, set by the Government on the 1st April each year, which varies depending on the age of the employee and whether they are an apprentice. The rates are as follows:
Agricultural workers employed in England before 1 October 2013 have the right to overtime pay if they work:
They also have the right to an on-call allowance, paid at 2 hours' overtime pay (for their grade) where they are not at work but have an arrangement to be contactable and to be able to reach their workplace within an agreed time. If an agricultural worker is called into work, they must be paid overtime for the hours they work or the 2 hours on-call allowance, whichever is higher.
The overtime and on-call provision for agricultural workers who were employed after 1st October 2013 will be governed by their employment contract, so it's important to ensure that the contractual wording is clear.
Where an agricultural worker employed in England before 1st October 2013 works at any time between 7pm and 6am, they must be paid £1.36 per hour more than their basic pay rate. The night work provision for agricultural workers who were employed after 1st October 2013 should be detailed in their employment contract.
Where an agricultural worker employed in England before 1st October 2013 is required to keep a dog for their job, they must be paid £7.63 a week for each dog. For those employed after 1st October 2013, employers should ensure they make clear in contracts of employment what any allowance will be.
Agricultural Sick Pay ('ASP') means that agricultural workers get paid at least the Agricultural Minimum Wage if they're off work sick. ASP includes any Statutory Sick Pay that a worker may be entitled to. An agricultural worker only has the right to ASP if their employment commenced before 1st October 2013, and their contract stipulates this. The amount of weeks ASP per year differs depending on how long the individual has been employed and is capped at a maximum of 26.
If you need any assistance with understanding the employment rights applicable to agricultural workers, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist Employment Team below.