New minimum rates kick-in
Big changes to the Horticulture Award came into effect on April 28.
The changes include: a minimum wage for pieceworkers (casual adult level 1 employee is $25.41/hour); new piecework definitions, which mean ‘competent’ workers must earn at least 15 per cent more per hour than the minimum rate; and new record-keeping obligations.
The award changes must be followed for all full pay periods starting on or after April 28.
The Australian Workers’ Union celebrated April 28 as a great day for fruit pickers.
“Now, at the end of each day, every (casual) picker should be assured that their work netted at least $25.41 an hour. If not, their employer is stealing from them and breaking the law,” AWU national secretary Daniel Walton said.
“This ruling is a huge advance for this industry and for all the farmers who are already doing the right thing.”
The changes were brought about by a Fair Work Commission decision in February, after the AWU argued the Horticulture Award should be altered to ensure every worker is entitled to a minimum casual rate of pay, currently $25.41.
Full details of the changes can be accessed on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s horticulture showcase: https://horticulture.fairwork.gov.au/