Guidance

Agricultural labour: rights for workers and employers

Find out about agricultural workers' pay and working conditions, labour laws, and health and safety laws.

Agricultural labour providers and gangmasters

If you decide to use a labour provider to supply your farm with temporary workers, you must ensure that the provider is licensed by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).

Find out who needs a gangmasters licence and how to get one.

Working conditions and agricultural wages

Find out your pay and overtime rates and about changes to employment terms and conditions since 1 October 2013.

You can calculate your holiday entitlement and how much sick pay you can claim.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) investigates and enforces agricultural wage disputes that happened before 1 October 2013 and no longer than 6 years ago. Contact the RPA if you think you might have been paid less than the minimum wage.

Agricultural Wages Team
Rural Payments Agency
Sterling House
Dix's Field
Exeter
EX1 1QA

Email agriwages@rpa.gsi.gov.uk

Use the agricultural wages complaint form to help get back any wages you’re owed.

Agricultural employment disputes

As an employer, you can avoid most potential conflicts and disputes by:

  • providing a good working environment
  • providing safe working conditions
  • implementing fair policies and practices
  • offering your workers reasonable pay
  • maintaining good communication with your workers to reduce the chance of misunderstandings and disagreements

You can get general employment advice from Acas, the independent body whose role is to improve working life through better employment relations.

Acas can also help employers and workers (or their representatives) work together to prevent disputes starting in the first place. Acas offers workplace training and workshops to help organisations adopt or develop better employment relations practices.

If there is a dispute you could be taken to a tribunal. Find out about being taken to a tribunal by an employee.

Agricultural health and safety

As an employer, you’re legally obliged to take measures to protect the health and safety of your workers. This duty of care also extends to any members of the public affected by your agricultural practices such as contractors and suppliers.

You should carry out a risk assessment to identify any aspects of your business that could pose a risk to the health and safety of those affected by your business.

Read more about farm health and safety.

Skills, learning and training for farm workers

Training helps make sure that workers are carrying out their jobs safely.

You must train:

  • all new workers
  • all workers who will be following new working methods, or using new equipment or technologies

Lantra is the Skills Sector Council for environmental and land-based industries in the UK – it can help your business:

  • identify training needs
  • develop and use existing skills
  • access funding for training

Search for training courses specific to your business on the Lantra website.

If you’re an adult working in the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors, or you’re a rurally located small business, you might be able to sign up to:

  • training courses
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • conferences

These courses are partly funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). You or your employer would need to pay 30% of the cost.

Published 20 November 2015