A single minimum hourly rate for all agricultural workers, irrespective of age and duties has been proposed by the Scottish Agricultural Wage Board (SAWB).
If approved, the minimum hourly rate would increase by 26p per hour to equal the UK Government’s National Living Wage of £7.50.
The proposed headline minimum rates are:
The overtime rate for workers during the first 26 weeks of employment will 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 – an 38p per hour increase – for new workers who undertake a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in agriculture.
An additional sum of £1.14 per hour for workers who have appropriate qualifications – an increase of 4p per hour.
Those working with dogs should receive an allowance of £5.60 per working dog up to a maximum of four dogs – an increase of 11p per dog. The daily rate for accommodation off-set for accommodation provided by an employer other than a house to increase 65p per day to £6.00.
NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker commented: “The introduction of the National Living Wage has put a very different slant on this year’s negotiations with the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board.
“Agricultural wages cannot have a rate of pay that is less than that of the National Living Wage. We were very pleased that the wages board recognised this substantial increase for the first time and that the minimum agricultural wages should be in line with the National Living Wage.
“We also successfully received recognition from the Wages Board that the rules on overtime were having a significant impact on seasonal workers. As such, we have been able to get a proposal that would see overtime for those in the first 26 weeks of employment not begin until a minimum 48 hours have been worked in a week. This is good for workers and employers.
“We strongly encourage all of our members to let the Wages Board know their thoughts on these proposals. The proposals will be approved or rejected early next year.”