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New Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order comes into force

The new Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order came into force on Friday 26 February 2016, meaning workers in Wales will receive an average 6% pay increase based on previous minimum pay rates.

At present, agricultural workers in Wales are subject to the minimum pay rates specified by the last Agricultural Wages Order issued by the Agricultural Wages Board in 2012, except for Grade 1 which is set at the current National Minimum Wage.

The new Order rewards skills, and links pay rates to qualifications through a six grade career structure. It preserves this structure for standard and flexible workers to encourage up-skilling, career development and the further modernisation and professionalism of the agriculture industry in Wales.

The new Order importantly introduces revised pay rates for all grades and categories of agricultural workers in Wales.

The 6% pay increase will apply to grades 2 to 6, young workers of compulsory school age, and apprentices. Since 2012, the hourly pay of Grade 1 workers has increased in line with increases in the National Minimum Wage, and now this Order will set the Grade 2p above the current National Minimum Wage at £6.72.

Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans said:

“The work we have been undertaking to preserve the Agricultural Minimum Wage regime in Wales provides benefits for the whole sector and the rural economy more widely, and underpins the our vision of a modern, professional and profitable agriculture industry in Wales.

“The career structure, increased minimum pay rates for young workers and apprentices, and the provisions that support training paid by employers are designed to help combat skills shortages in the sector. Having a well-trained and well-motivated workforce is key to ensuring the long term viability and success of agriculture in Wales.”

The Order is however intended to be an interim measure and will remain in force until a new agricultural wages Order is made, based on the recommendations of the new, soon to be formed, Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales.

The Panel, once established, will play a fundamental role in supporting the functioning of industry by considering matters related to employment and also skills and career development.

The Deputy Minister added:

“Our work aims to ensure the long term viability and success of the agricultural sector in Wales, supporting the key goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, in achieving a prosperous, resilient and more equal Wales.”

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Channel website: http://gov.wales

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