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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Specific occupations & special groups: agricultural workers

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, sections 46, 47, 54(3) & Schedule 2

All agricultural workers are covered by the agricultural minimum wage arrangements and must receive at least national minimum wage rates. The Agriculture Wages Boards for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (NMWM02050) set the minimum wages for agricultural workers in Agricultural Wages Orders. When performing agricultural work agricultural workers must be paid the appropriate agricultural minimum wage. The rate will never be lower than their national minimum wage rate but may be higher.

Current agricultural minimum wage rates can be obtained from

  • England & Wales, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs;  
  • Scotland: Scottish Executive,  
  • Northern Ireland: Department of Agriculture and Rural Development,  

Unless an Agricultural Wages Order specifies that a worker is entitled to an agricultural wage at a higher rate they must be paid at least the national minimum wage. Agriculture is defined in the Order as including “dairy farming, the production of any consumable produce which is grown for sale, or for consumption or other use for the purposes of a trade or business or of any other undertaking (whether carried on for profit or not), and the use of land as grazing, meadow or pasture land or orchard or osier land or woodland or for market gardens or nursery grounds.” Case-law has further informed the types of occupations covered by the Order (NMWM06030).

If a compliance officer has a query regarding whether an occupation falls under agricultural work or discovers a discrepancy with the payment of the agricultural minimum wage they should contact the Central Information Unit for advice.

See also: Gangmaster Supplied Labour (NMWM06130), Migrant Workers (NMWM6190) and Seasonal Workers and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (NMWM06220).