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Horticulture Workers To Receive Minimum Wage From This Week

Horticulture workers to receive minimum wage from this week

Horticulture workers will receive the minimum wage from this week, following recent changes to the Award.

Growers previously paid workers according to the amount of produce they harvested or packed.

From this week, workers will be guaranteed a minimum $23.38 hourly wage, regardless of their output.

Employment experts are reminding growers to check their pay systems to ensure they are compliant with the new minimum rates.

Horticulture workers to receive minimum wage from this week

The Fair Work Commission found wage theft is widespread in the horticulture sector.

Horticulture workers to receive minimum wage

In February 2022, the Fair Work Commission announced changes to the Horticulture Award, including a new minimum wage guarantee for pieceworkers.

For example, the minimum piece rate for an adult level 1 full-time or part-time employee is $23.38 per hour or $29.22 for casuals.

The new minimum wage guarantee requires growers to pay at least these hourly rates.

However, if the pieceworker would earn more than the minimum wage guarantee for the day based on the piece work rate and their productivity, they must be paid the higher amount.

Farmers will go broke

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association President Adrian Schultz previously told ABC Rural that the decision will reward slow workers.

However, he also conceded that some farmers do underpay workers.

“The bulk of farmers that are trying to do the right thing are relying on the piecework to provide the efficiencies in their system to be able to get the fruit out at a cost that doesn’t send them broke,” he said.

Horticulture workers to receive minimum wage from this week

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said farmers have been exploiting workers for years.

Sector rife with exploitation

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan dismissed concerns from the industry, pointing to evidence that wage theft is rife in horticulture.

“Growers have been ripping off pieceworkers for years,” he said.

“The sector attracts many temporary migrant workers and farmers exploit them.

“As the Commission noted in its ruling, there is widespread non-compliance and significant underpayment of pieceworkers in the industry.

“So I have little sympathy for growers who are now going to have to pay decent wages.”

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New record keeping obligations for horticulture workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman says growers must now record the hours worked by all pieceworkers, and the piece rates applied.

The regulator has further information on its website.

Meanwhile, Mr Heffernan reminded employers to check their pay systems are up-to-date.

“You can bet Fair Work will have inspectors out in the sector soon to ensure growers are complying with the new minimum pay rates,” he said.

“Now is the time to check your wage payment and recording systems meet the new workplace laws.”

Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims today on

1300 324 748

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Fair Work Claims is a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.

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