Many people are unaware that agricultural workers have different rights to those who work in other industries and that there are a set of different regulations in place to ensure that it is clear who qualifies as an agricultural worker, what their rates of pay are and how much holiday they are entitled to.

An agricultural worker is someone who:

  • Farms or rears animals
  • Grows crops or plants, bulbs or flowers
  • Works in forestry, plant nurseries or market gardens
  • Maintains woodland, forests, meadows or reed beds

Although these descriptions are pretty specific if you are not sure if your job role offers you agriculture workers’ rights it is always worth checking.

Agricultural Workers And The Minimum Wage

There is a minimum wage in place for agricultural workers, and they must be paid this or the national minimum wage, depending on which is higher. Your rate of pay will depend on the grade of your job. There are six grades of job within the pay scale, with one being the lowest and six being the highest. Within these grades there is a clear line of progression and clear descriptions to help decide which grade you operate within.

You may also be a flexible worker, either full or part time and you must have a flexible worker agreement in writing. To be a flexible worker you must work over 39 hours per week (full time) or less that 39 hours (part time), work set days that cannot be changed unless agreed with your employer and full time flexible workers may also work on a Sunday when needed.

Overtime rates are also set out within the job grades and must be paid if you work more than 39 hours a week, work more than 8 hours in a day, work on a bank holiday or a Sunday (if your contract started before 2006) or if you work anymore hours than is stated in your contract.

As an agricultural worker, you are also entitled to Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP), which pays you at least the agricultural workers minimum wage whilst you are sick.

Your annual leave entitlement is also calculated differently to others depending on the number of days you work a week and also how many hours you work too.

There are many other special allowances which apply to agricultural workers including extra payment for night work, provision of housing, payment if you are required to keep a dog for your work and many others.

Therefore if you work within any of the industries listed above, you should check what you are entitled to and if you are not receiving it you should seek advice.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment law services, please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

Author: Nicholas Jervis