4. Grades and categories

The minimum wage and other rights and entitlements for agricultural workers depends on their grade and category.

Grades

An agricultural worker’s grade is based on their skills and responsibilities.

Grade 1 - initial grade

A grade 1 worker is usually supervised and works on simple tasks like harvesting or packing.

They have the right to be trained to become a grade 2 worker once they’ve worked for the same employer continuously for 30 weeks.

Grade 2 - standard worker

Someone is a grade 2 worker if they have one of the following:

  • a vocational qualification of at least NVQ at level 2
  • a certificate of competence for the agricultural sector they work in

Someone is also a grade 2 worker if they:

  • work mainly unsupervised
  • work with animals
  • use powered machinery
  • drive a tractor

Grade 3 - lead worker

If someone has worked in agriculture for at least 2 of the past 5 years, they’re a grade 3 worker if they have either:

  • a National Certificate in agriculture or horticulture
  • 4 certificates of competence or non-accredited competencies, for the agricultural sector they work in

Someone is also a grade 3 worker if

  • they manage a team - but not discipline team members
  • their employer views them as a grade 3 team leader and they’ve completed a one month (maximum) trial period

Grade 4 - craft grade

Someone is a grade 4 worker if they have:

  • an NVQ level 3 vocational qualification
  • 8 certificates of competence for the agricultural sector they work in

They should also have:

  • worked for the same employer continuously for 12 months since getting this qualification
  • worked in agriculture for at least 2 of the past 5 years

There are other qualifications for grade 4 - you can get more help and advice.

Grade 5 - supervisory grade

A grade 5 worker is responsible for either:

  • supervising work on a farm on a daily basis
  • instructing, supervising and disciplining staff

Grade 6 - farm management grade

A grade 6 worker has either:

  • management responsibility for a farm - or part of a farm if it’s run as a separate business
  • responsibility for employing, disciplining and dismissing staff

Categories

An agricultural worker’s category depends on their duties, responsibilities and/or qualifications.

Flexible workers

Flexible workers must have a written ‘flexible working agreement’.

A full-time flexible worker works:

  • a 39 basic hour week - the hours can vary over different days
  • set working hours and working days, which can’t be changed unless agreed with the employer
  • on a Sunday when needed

A part-time flexible worker works:

  • less than 39 basic hours a week - the hours can vary over different days
  • set working hours and working days, which can’t be changed unless agreed with the employer

Trainee

A trainee is someone who is:

  • on work experience as part of a Business, Innovation and Skills-approved training scheme
  • on work experience in agriculture as part of the Diploma in Environmental and Land-Based Studies for 14 to 19-year-olds
  • taking part in the second phase of the European Leonardo da Vinci Programme

Apprentice

Rights for apprentices are different.