Do you know the legal minimum wage for working on an Australian horticultural farm?

Today, this blog is going to introduce to you, what most of us don’t know, but what we would all be better off to know. It is composed by

Table of Contents

1. Minimum hourly rate in Australia

2. Minimum piece rate in Australia

3. My suggestion

Surprisingly, in Australian law, the piece rate has to be 15% higher than hourly rate. This regulation is pretty far from the reality that I experienced in Bundaberg.
Let’s go through the details [as of 23/5/2016].

※The legal minimum wage was changed on the 1/7/2016.

1. Minimum hourly rate in Australia

According to Pay Guide – Horticulture Award 2010 from the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman, a casual worker in the horticulture sector is eligible to get $21.61 per hour.

If you are working on a fruit or vegetable farm, then you are working in this sector.

Ref “Pay Guide – Horticulture Award 2010”

Ref “Pay Guide – Horticulture Award 2010”

2. Minimum piece rate in Australia

What I am talking about here is the really SHOCKING information. If you have a heart disease, please close this window.

First thing first, what is “piece rate” within the horticultural industry?

A piece rate is where an employee gets paid by the piece. This means the employee gets a pay rate for the amount picked, packed, pruned or made. (Ref Fair Work Ombudsman)

Briefly said, your salary is decided by your effort.

What is the minimum piece rate?

15.2 The piecework rate fixed by agreement between the employer and the employee must enable the average competent employee to earn at least 15% more per hour than the minimum hourly rate prescribed in this award for the type of employment and the classification level of the employee. The piecework rate agreed is to be paid for all work performed in accordance with the piecework agreement. (Pay Guide – Horticulture Award 2010)

According to the above, the average competent employee is able to earn at least $24.90 per hour [=$21.61*15%]. If you were an average worker and worked in the piece rate farm for 8 hours, you could potentially earn $199.20 in the day [=$21.61*15%*8hours].

If you were to work on a public holiday,,,,, Oh,,,, Please do not calculate it,,, you may get a heart attack again (the result is approximately $357.90 per day) [$38.90*15%*8hours].

3. My suggestion

On 17 May 2016, the Australian government announced the delay of the backpacker tax until 1 January 2017 (Ref ABC 5/17/2016).

In the near future, backpackers may avoid working in Australia and instead go and work for other countries horticultural farms. It is fair to say that no worker wants to work under harsh conditions.

Rather than impose a backpacker tax on workers, my suggestion is to regulate contractors and farmers to ensure they are doing the right thing by workers. It would be WIN-WIN-WIN relationship for stakeholders around horticulture sector; farmers will have labors and workers will have a fair days pay for a fair day’s work. The net benefits are simple.

  1. Workers can continue to receive adequate wages after tax.
  2. Contractors or farmers can continuously hire seasonal workers.
  3. Government can receive backpacker tax through regular and existing taxation processes and keep workers in Australia.

This way Australia would be seen as a beautiful country all over the world. Let’s get Australia’s dignity back, before too many more international workers have bad experiences and come to dislike Australia.

If you like it, please share it by Facebook and twitter:) Change Australia.

Read this article in Japanese.

【ワーホリ必見】オーストラリアの最低賃金 レストランの時給やファームの歩合給の例

*Always check pay rates with Fair Work as information is constantly changing. This information does not take into consideration individual circumstances and is presented as a guide only.