Rural Law

It depends on where they work.

  • Scottish workers are entitled to the rates set by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (see below).
  • Agricultural workers in England must be paid at least the national minimum wage and (in most cases) are not entitled to a specific agricultural wage. However, if they were employed before 1 October 2013 and their contract provides that they are entitled to the Agricultural Minimum Wage, they will be entitled to this (at the rates set out on the government website) or the national minimum wage – whichever is higher.
  • Agricultural workers in Wales must be paid at least the national minimum wage or the Agricultural Minimum Wage set by the Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales (set out on the Welsh government website) – whichever is higher.

Current rates of agricultural wages in Scotland

The principal agricultural wage rates which have applied in Scotland since October 2016 are:

  • £6.95 for workers aged up to and including 24 in the first 26 weeks of employment.
  • £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over in the first 26 weeks of employment.
  • £7.24 per hour regardless of age after 26 weeks of employment.
  • Overtime must be paid when a worker works for more than 8 hours on any day or for more than 39 hours in any week. The minimum hourly rate of payment for overtime is the minimum hourly rate of pay to which the worker is entitled multiplied by 1.5.
  • A minimum hourly rate of £4.02 for the first 12 months for workers who are undertaking a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in agriculture/horticulture – thereafter the minimum hourly rate is the over 26 week rate (£7.24) .
  • An additional sum of £1.10 per hour payable to workers who have been with the same employer for more than 26 weeks and hold an appropriate qualification in agricultural or production horticulture.

Some of the rates specified in the current guide on agricultural wages in Scotland are lower than those listed above. This is because the guide was published in October 2015, before the introduction of the living wage in April 2016 and the increase to other national minimum wage rates from October 2016. Employers are under an obligation to pay all workers, including agricultural workers, at least the national minimum wage.

Proposed rates of agricultural wages in Scotland from April 2017

The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board has proposed a new single minimum hourly rate of £7.50 to apply from April 2017 to all agricultural workers in Scotland irrespective of age and duties (equal to the national living wage).

The proposed headline changes are:

  • £7.50 for all workers regardless of age and how long they have worked for the employer.
  • The overtime rate for workers during the first 26 weeks of employment to start after 48 hours is worked in the week and at the rate of 1.5 times the agreed hourly rate.
  • The overtime rate for all workers after 26 weeks continuous employment will start after 39 hours is worked at the rate of 1.5 times the agreed hourly rate.
  • An hourly rate of £4.40 for new workers who undertake a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in agriculture/horticulture.
  • An additional sum of £1.14 per hour for workers with 26 weeks’ service and appropriate qualifications.

Workbox – online HR know-how

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Have you seen Workbox? The section on Pay and Reward has up-to-date information and FAQs on the minimum wage.

Created by Brodies’ employment team, Workbox gives you access to online HR know-how you can trust, in a straightforward Q & A format. It includes over 200 templates: contracts, policies, letters and forms.

Have a look at the Workbox home page where you’ll find a short information video, or speak to your usual Brodies’ contact to discuss a free trial or subscription options.

Julie Keir

Practice Development Lawyer at Brodies LLP
As a Practice Development Lawyer Julie is responsible for developing and maintaining Brodies Workbox, our award-winning online HR and employment law resource.
Julie Keir