13th June 2013

Agricultural Workers Board to be abolished: What should employers consider?

The abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) on 25 June 2013 means agricultural workers will be treated the same as other workers.

The Agricultural Wages Board currently sets minimum wages and other terms for agricultural workers in England and Wales.   The Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) will abolish the Agricultural Wages Board with effect from 25 June 2013.  This will mean the current Agricultural Wage Order, which sets the minimum wage and other terms and conditions, will remain in place until 1 October 2013.  After this date, agricultural workers will be covered by the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and further legislation will be passed to bring the agricultural workers within the remit of the Working Time Regulations (WTR). The WTR cover matters such as rest breaks and currently agriculture workers can be exempted from some of the regulations.

If you employ agriculture workers you should consider the following:

  • After 1 October 2013 you and your workers will still be bound by any contractual arrangements you may have provided those contractual terms give your worker the minimum provided in the legislation e.g. not less than the NMW. For new workers after 1 October 2013 you are likely to require new or amended contracts of employment.
  • Be aware of the NMW and the Working Time Regulations and assess your current working arrangements

We can help reassure you: perhaps you just want to know where you stand with regard to these forthcoming changes, or you need some new contracts of employment?  If you have any queries regarding this, please call Linda Wilson on 01730 268 211.