Seasonal work on farms: guidance for workers

The type of seasonal work you can do on farms, who can apply, and where you can find work.

Seasonal work on farms usually involves:

  • planting crops
  • harvesting crops
  • packing crops

Agricultural workers are classified as key workers under the category Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery.

Requirements for seasonal work

Seasonal work on farms is suitable for people with all levels of experience. You do not need to have done this kind of work before as the farm will provide training.

The work:

  • can be indoors or outdoors depending on the crop
  • is physical, involving frequent lifting and carrying of items or operating machinery

You’ll need to:

  • be able to make a time commitment to the farm - most farms are looking for full time workers
  • consider travel arrangements as the farm may be in a rural area or live on the farm in employer provided accommodation for a charge

Furloughed workers

If you’re ‘on furlough’ from your job you can apply for seasonal work as long as your job contract says you can do other work. ‘On furlough’ is when your employer has kept you on the payroll even though there is no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You’ll still be entitled to receive 80% of your usual wages from the government.

You should check your job contract to make sure you’re allowed to do other work.

For more information about furloughed workers, read COVID-19: Working safely during coronavirus in construction and other outdoor work.

Where to look for jobs

You can look for seasonal jobs on farms from:

  • Find a job - use the search terms ‘fruit picking’ ‘vegetable picking’
  • Pick for Britain
  • growers who recruit directly - check for local opportunities

You should check a range of sites where there are likely to be more opportunities for work over the summer.

Keeping workers safe

Farming and growing businesses are required to keep you safe by:

  • ensuring premises are clean
  • having social distancing measures in place
  • providing safe and clean accommodation if required (usually at a small cost)
  • ensuring any transport they provide meets safety guidelines

For more information read COVID-19 guidance for employees and sector specific guidance on social distancing in the workplace.

Published 29 April 2020