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HCR Law Events

22 April 2022

Welsh agricultural workers’ new grading structure and minimum pay

The Agricultural Wages (No 2) (Wales) Order 2022 (SI 2022/794 (W172)) was made on 11 July 2022 which revokes and replaces the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2022 (SI 2022/417 (W102)).The overhaul affects how Welsh workers are graded as well as their minimum hourly pay and allowances.

The order, which comes into force on 6 August 2022 is deemed to take effect from 1 April 2022.

The new grading structure implemented by the previous order which runs from Grade A to E based on experience and qualifications (see grading structure and rates of pay below) is maintained.

Individuals who undertake an apprenticeship are rewarded.

There remains an inclusion of provisions related to daily rest and weekly rest periods at Articles 29-31 of the new order, echoing the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The changes made to the previous order are the minimum hourly rates, which have increased slightly. In addition, the Agricultural Wages (No 2) (Wales) Order 2022 also includes provisions about time, holiday pay, sick pay and bereavement leave.

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

A dog allowance of £8.53 per dog per week where the agricultural worker is required by their employer to keep one or more dogs

An on-call allowance of three times the hourly rate of the agricultural worker according to their grade

A night-time work allowance of £1.62 per hour (of night work)

A birth adoption allowance of £67.09 per child.

The grades of agricultural worker are as follows:

Grade (age range) Proposed rate of pay (per hour) (£)
A1 – Agricultural Development Worker (16-17 years) 4.81
A2 – Agricultural Development Worker (18-20 years) 6.83
A3 – Agricultural Development Worker (21-22 years) 9.18
A4 – Agricultural Development Worker (23+ years) 9.50
B1 – Agricultural Worker (16-17 years) 4.81
B2 – Agricultural Worker (18-20 years) 6.83
B3 – Agricultural Worker (21-22 years) 9.18
B4 – Agricultural Worker (23 years+) 9.79
C – Agricultural Advanced Worker 10.08
D – Senior Agricultural Worker 11.06
E – Agricultural Manager 12.13

 

Apprentice rates are also raised as follows:

Apprentice Year (Age range) 2022 rate per hour (£)
Apprentice Year 1 4.81
Apprentice Year 2 (16-17) 4.81
Apprentice Year 2 (aged 18-20) 6.83
Apprentice Year 2 (aged 21-22) 9.18
Apprentice Year 2 (aged 23+) 9.50

Employers should be particularly mindful of the revamped grading structure and alive to the new minimum rates of pay to ensure that their staff and apprentices are being paid accordingly, based on their grade and relevant experience.

Employers should also be aware that where an agricultural worker attends a training course and the employer has agreed to their attendance, employers must pay for:

(a) Any fees for the course; and

(b) Any travelling and accommodation expenses incurred by the agricultural worker attending the course.

We work frequently with clients whose land is split over the English and Welsh border and an issue which arises is 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 but 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 but whose workers may work in England on a limited ad hoc basis, the rates applicable to agricultural wages in Wales apply.

Where land is split over the English and Welsh border, employers must therefore be vigilant as to which regulations apply to their workforce and should be able to justify their decision. Employers should keep a record of their reasons and ensure that contracts of employment reflect the regulations which apply.

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About the Author
Guy Hollebon, Legal Director

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