21 March 2019

Pay rises of between 2% and 5% for Welsh agricultural workers

Coming into force on 1 April 2019 are the new minimum pay levels for all grades of agricultural workers in Wales. The Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2019 (SI 2019/511) replaces the 2018 Order (SI 2018/433) and brings in pay rises for workers across the board.

The 2019 Order makes the following changes:

• The new rate for Grade 1 workers of compulsory school age (13-16) is £3.54 (an increase of 2%)
• The rate for Grade 1 workers aged 16 to 24 is now £7.70 (an increase of 4%) and Grade 1 workers aged 25+ will receive £8.21 (the largest increase of 5%)
• The rate for Grade 2 (qualified) workers has been raised by approximately 2% to £8.45
• The rates of Grades 3 to 6 workers have been raised by 2% and are now £8.70 (Grade 3 – qualified with experience), £9.36 (Grade 4 – qualified with greater experience), £9.88 (Grade 5 – Supervisors) and £10.64 (Grade 6 – Management) respectively.

There are also other slightly increased allowances which do not form part of the workers’ remuneration:

• a dog allowance of £8.17 per dog to be paid weekly where an agricultural worker is required by their employer to keep one or more dogs
• on-call allowance of a sum which is equivalent to twice the hourly overtime rate
• a night work allowance of £1.55 for each hour of night work
• a birth and adoption grant of £64.29 for each child.

The Order also makes provision for time off, sick pay and overtime, which remains unchanged as agricultural workers must be remunerated for overtime at not less than 1.5 times the minimum pay rate.

Working as we do frequently with clients whose land is split over the English and Welsh border, there is often an issue of how the Welsh provisions apply to cross-border agricultural land. The policy of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Division of the Welsh Government and Defra has been that:

• For a business based in England whose workers may work in Wales on a limited ad hoc basis, National Minimum Wage (NMW) conditions will apply
• For a business based in Wales whose workers may work in England on a limited ad hoc basis, the rates applicable to Agricultural Wages in Wales apply.

This advice is, of course, general and based on the assumption that workers are usually working in the country where the business is based.

Employers are also reminded that the minimum employer’s contribution to auto-enrolment workplace pensions is increasing from 2% to 3% of qualifying earnings from 6 April 2019. The total minimum contribution from employers and employees combined is now 8%.

For specific advice in relation to agricultural workers please contact the Wye Valley employment team.

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About the Author
Catherine Jackson, Solicitor
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