Agriculture: Pay

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd November 2010.

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Photo of William Bain William Bain Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) farm employees being paid wages below Agricultural Wages Board rates and (b) farm employers paying wages below such rates.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The information is as follows:

(a) In 2009, there were approximately 26,000 workers over the age of 21 (21% of non-salaried workers) who were recorded as being paid at lower rates than the minimums for their grade.

It is important to note that these earnings figures may include data for workers who are not covered by the Agricultural Wages Order. For example, this could be family workers who benefit from the profits of the business or apprentices. It could also include first year apprentices for whom the order supplies additional and lower minimum rates or trainees working as part of an approved agricultural training course. The analysis excludes those aged 21 and under to minimise these effects.

Therefore the proportion of workers apparently paid below the agricultural minimum wage rate might be overstated to the extent that the data will include some workers who are not protected by agricultural minimum wage rates or for whom there is a lower minimum rate.

Number of workers( 1) by AWB grade in England and Wales paid below the AWB rate for their grade (2009)
Grade Number of workers Percentage of workers at that grade
1 1,881 11
2 14,946 25
3 3,260 34
4 6,245 29
5 1,789 18
6 735 19
All grades 25,691 21

1. Only includes workers aged 22 and above.

2. June survey information is based on data captured for 1 June 2009, whereas the Earnings and Hours Survey information is based on four quarterly surveys from January 2009, March 2009, June 2009 and September 2009 for the respective year.

3. These figures are based on a sample survey and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.


June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture and DEFRA survey of Earning and Hours.

(b) We do not have an accurate estimate for the number of employers in England and Wales who were found to have paid workers below the agricultural minimum wage rate for their grade.

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