The minimum wage for agricultural workers

Who governs the minimum wage for agricultural workers?

The Agricultural Wages Board is responsible for setting minimum wages for agricultural workers. It also has powers to decide other terms and conditions of employment for agricultural workers. Its powers derive from the Agricultural Wages Act 1948 and the Agriculture Act 1967.

Each year it makes an Order. The latest Order is the Agricultural Wages (England and Wales) Order 2010, which came into force on 1 October 2010. The Order applies to any worker employed in agriculture anywhere in England and Wales.

What is the current minimum wage for agricultural workers?

Calculating the minimum wage for agricultural workers is complex as the amount an agricultural worker is entitled to be paid will depend on their qualifications, experience, the nature of their job and the number of hours they are expected to work. When calculating the rate payable certain benefits and advantages can be taken into account and offset against the hourly rate which would otherwise be payable. In addition to the rates of pay there are certain allowances that must be paid to agricultural workers.

Under the Agricultural Wages (England and Wales) Order 2010 there are 6 grades and 4 categories of agricultural worker. These are as follows:

Grade 1 – initial grade

An “initial grade” worker is a worker who does not fall within any of the other grades or categories.

An initial grade worker is currently entitled to receive £2.98 per hour if they are of compulsory school age, which rises to £5.95 once they exceed compulsory school age. Where an initial grade worker is entitled to receive overtime the rates are £4.47 (for compulsory school age workers) and £8.93 (for those above compulsory school age).

Grade 2 – standard grade

A “standard worker” is a worker who holds a vocational qualification of at least NVQ Level 2 or a single “certificate of competence” for the agricultural sector in which he is employed.

A worker who works mainly unsupervised, or who works with animals or drives a tractor or uses powered machinery may also fall within the “standard worker” grade.

A standard grade worker is currently entitled to receive £ 6.58 per hour or £9.87 for overtime.

Grade 3 – lead worker

There are 2 ways in which a person can become a “lead worker”. A person can become a “lead worker” by virtue of them being appointed as a team leader or by obtaining certain qualifications. In addition the worker must have worked in agriculture for at least 2 years within the last 5 years.

A team leader is someone who is responsible for leading a team of other workers. In such circumstances payment at the “lead worker” rate may be deferred until the worker has successfully completed a trial period of up to one month in length.

Alternatively a worker will qualify as a “lead worker” if they have obtained one of the following vocational qualifications in the agricultural sector in which they are employed:

  • NPTC/ City & Guilds National Certificate in Agriculture / Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds National Certificate in Horticulture / Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture;
  • Edexcel BTEC First Diploma in Agriculture / Level 2 BTEC Diploma in Agriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC First Diploma in Horticulture / Level 2 BTEC Diploma in Horticulture;

Or…

  • if they hold 4 NPTC certificates of competence / QCF Awards or Certificates.

A lead worker is currently entitled to receive £7.24 per hour or £10.86 for overtime.

Grade 4 – craft grade

Subject to certain exceptions, a worker will qualify as a “craft grade” worker is they hold one of the following vocational qualifications:

  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Agricultural Crop Production / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production (Beef) / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production (Dairy) / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production (Pigs) / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production (Poultry) / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Livestock Production (Sheep) / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Mixed Farming / Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Agriculture / SVQ Level 3 Agriculture;
  • NPTC/ City & Guilds Advanced National Certificate in Agriculture / Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture / Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Certificate in Agriculture / Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Agriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Diploma in Agriculture / Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Agriculture;
  • NPTC/City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Production Horticulture/ Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture / SVQ Level 3 Horticulture;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Certificate in Horticulture / Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Horticulture;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Diploma in Horticulture / Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Horticulture;
  • NPTC/City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Treework (Forestry Establishment) / Level 3 Diploma in Work based Treework / SVQ Level 3 in Treework;
  • NPTC/City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Treework (Forestry Harvesting) / Level 3 Diploma in Work based Treework / SVQ Level 3 in Treework;
  • NPTC/City & Guilds S/NVQ Level 3 Treework (Arboriculture) / Level 3 Diploma in Work based Treework / SVQ Level 3 in Treework;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture / Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC National Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture / Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Agriculture;
  • Edexcel BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Horticulture;
  • Edexcel BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Countryside Management;
  • Advanced Apprenticeship in Agricultural Crops and Livestock (previously the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship) / Advanced Apprenticeship in Agriculture;
  • Advanced Apprenticeship in Production Horticulture (previously the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship) / Advanced Apprenticeship in Horticulture;

Or…

  • if they hold 8 NPTC certificates of competence, including any mandatory NPTC competences in the relevant agricultural sector in which they work; or
  • if they are a qualified former council apprentice; or
  • if they hold a valid Craft Certificate issued before 1 June 1986 by an agricultural wages committee; or
  • if they hold a valid Proficiency Test Craft Certificate or Certificate of Qualification issued on or after 1 June 1986 by the National Proficiency Tests Council or a National Vocational Qualification at level 3 and they were previously entitled to receive the minimum rate of pay for craft trade workers; or
  • if they were formerly an apprentice and holds a valid certificate issued by the Agricultural Training Board; or
  • if they have been employed in agriculture since before 29 May 1972 and holds a valid Craft Certificate issued by an agricultural wages committee on the basis of an employer’s declaration; or
  • if they hold a valid certificate or qualification which entitled them to receive the minimum wage for craft grade workers under a previous Agricultural Wages Order made by the Agricultural Wages Board.

The worker must also have worked in agriculture for at least 2 years in the last 5 years or have been continuously employed for at least 12 months by the same employer since obtaining the “craft grade” worker grade.

A craft grade worker is currently entitled to receive £7.76 per hour or £11.64 per hour for overtime.

Grade 5 – supervisory grade

The “supervisory” grade applies to workers who have the day-to-day responsibility for supervising the work carried out by other workers on a farm or part of a farm or responsibility for instructing and supervising other workers. This may include the responsibility for implementing decisions made by management and will include the responsibility for disciplining other workers.

A supervisory grade worker is currently entitled to receive £8.23 per hour or £12.35 per hour for overtime.

Grade 6 – farm management grade

The “farm management” grade applies to workers who are responsible for managing an entire farm or part of a farm which is run as a separate business or operation. It also applies to workers who are responsible for employing, disciplining and dismissing staff or who are responsible for making recommendations for the dismissal of staff that the worker manages directly.

A supervisory grade worker is currently entitled to receive £8.88 per hour or £13.32 per hour for overtime.

Flexible workers

A “full time flexible worker” is in essence a worker who has agreed to work flexible hours equating to 39 basic hours or more per week for at least one year.

A “part time flexible worker” is in essence a worker who has agreed to work flexible hours equating to less than 39 basic hours per week for at least one year.

The rates of pay for flexible workers varies depending upon what grade they are. Currently a flexible worker is entitled to be paid between £6.25 and £9.50 per hour basic pay and between £8.93 and £13.32 per hour for overtime.

Apprentice

An “apprentice” is a worker who is employed under an Apprenticeship or Advanced Apprenticeship or Foundation Modern Apprenticeship or under a Modern Apprenticeship.

The rates of pay for apprentices varies depending upon their age and whether they are in their first or second year of their apprenticeship. Currently an apprentice is entitled to be paid between £3.57 and £5.95 per hour basic pay and between £5.36 and £8.93 per hour for overtime.

Trainee

A “trainee” is in essence a person who is undertaking training or work experience but who is not an apprentice.

The Order does not set a minimum rate of pay for trainees.