New agricultural minimum pay rates take effect from October 2010Monday, September 27th, 2010
New minimum wage rates for agricultural workers in England and Wales come into force from Friday, 1 October 2010, at the same time as the 2010 National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates.
However, unlike the NMW rates which apply to the first pay reference period that starts on or after 1 October, the new agricultural rates apply from Friday, 1 October, and the old rates continue to apply up to the Thursday.
The changes proposed by the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales in June have been confirmed, as follows:
- an increase in the Grade 1 (Initial Grade) pay rate for workers over compulsory school age of 2.4%, from £5.81 to £5.95 per hour (2p more than the new NMW adult rate from October 2010)
- increases in the rates for Grades 2 to 6 of 2.8%, lifting, for example, the Grade 2 Standard Worker rate from £6.40 to £6.58 per hour
- an increase in the daily Accommodation Offset rate from £4.51 to £4.61 (to match the October 2010 NMW increase)
- replacing the Standby Duty Allowance with a newly defined On-call Allowance, which would be paid at a rate equivalent to two hours overtime pay at the worker’s applicable rate
- where a worker is on call and is actually called-out, the pay would be the greater of the overtime rate for the hours worked or two hours overtime pay
- an overpayment of holiday pay may be recovered by a deduction from a worker’s final payment of wages.
The new rates have been introduced at a time when the continued operation of the Agricultural Board for England and Wales is in doubt. On 22 July 2010, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced reforms to 30 of its public delivery bodies, included among which is the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales.