Agricultural Wages Board announces pay increase for NI farm workers

The Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland has announced a pay increase for agricultural workers which amounts to a 1% increase in pay.

This will come into effect from April 1, 2021.

The proposed new rates are:

Minimum rate, applicable for the first 40 weeks cumulative employment – £6.95/hour;
Grade 2 – standard worker – £7.49/hour;
Grade 3 – lead worker – £8.91/hour;
Grade 4 – craft grade – £9.58/hour;
Grade 5 – supervisory grade – £10.09/hour;
Grade 6 – farm management grade – £10.95/hour.

Should the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW) become higher than the hourly rates set out above then the hourly or other minimum rate will default to the NMW or NLW, whichever applies.

Agricultural Wages Board

The Agricultural Wages Board, in its current form, was legislated for under the terms of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, to regulate the minimum rates of wages, and other related matters, for workers in agriculture.

The board consists of 15 members:

  • Three members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, one of whom is chair of the board (one position is currently vacant);
  • Six members nominated by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) as representatives of agricultural employers;
  • Six members nominated by Unite the union as representatives of agricultural workers’ interests.

The Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 and Agricultural Wages Board will remain in effect until the legislative process to revoke the 1977 order is concluded, subject to executive agreement.