Employment obligations in the horticulture industry

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A state-wide campaign is being undertaken by Private Sector Labour Relations Division to promote compliance with state employment laws by horticultural industry businesses in the state industrial relation system.

Employers who are in the state industrial relations system are those where the businesses operate as:

  • sole traders (e.g. Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Orchard),
  • unincorporated partnerships (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Orchard)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (e.g. Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for the Smith Family Trust trading as Jane’s Orchard).

For more information on who is covered by the state system visit the Guide to who is in the WA state system page.

As part of the campaign, industrial inspectors from Private Sector Labour Relations will be auditing businesses to ensure that employees are receiving their correct entitlements and proper records are being kept.

This page provides an overview of employment obligations for horticulture industry employers to assist all employers in the industry.

Key employment obligations for horticulture industry employers

Business owners in the horticulture industry who are in the state industrial relations system may be covered by a WA award which sets minimum rates of pay for relevant workers. A number of WA awards apply to this industry based on the type of crop produced and work done by the employees. Employers and employees in the horticulture industry may be covered by:

  • the Fruit Growing and Fruit Packing Industry Award;
  • the Farm Employees Award;
  • the Wine Industry Award;
  • the Food Industry (Food Manufacturing or Processing) Award.

Some businesses in the horticulture industry may be award-free, and the minimum pay rates under the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 will apply to workers not covered by a state award, unless the award free employees are paid solely on a piece work basis. 

It is unlawful for employers to pay employees less than the rate of pay outlined in a relevant WA Award that applies to their business, or Minimum Conditions of Employment Act if the employee is award free (and not paid solely on a piece work basis).

The exact minimum pay rates and leave entitlements for workers in the horticulture industry are dependent on whether a WA award covers the business, and which WA award. An overview of which award applies to certain types of businesses is outlined below. 

Information on WA award pay rates and entitlements is on the WA award summaries page. The minimum pay rates is on the Minimum pay rates and entitlements for award free employees summary page.

Please contact Wageline on 1300 655 266 or via email at wageline@dmirs.wa.gov.au to confirm award coverage.

Key WA Awards
WA Award Overview of coverage
Fruit Growing and Fruit Packing Industry Award

The Fruit Growing and Fruit Packing Industry Award applies to businesses in the state industrial relations system which are in the fruit growing and fruit packing industry, including the preparation of land, cultivation, planting, care, picking, handling, treating, packing and dispatching of all fresh fruits including tomatoes on or from gardens, farms, orchards and in packing sheds.

Employees engaged by labour hire companies in the state industrial relations system to work in the fruit growing and fruit packing industry are also covered by this WA award.

The Fruit Growing and Fruit Packing Industry Award sets pay rates, working hours and other employment arrangements for full time, part time and casual employees working as: 

  • packers and sorters
  • shed hands
  • orchard hands
Farm Employees Award

The Farm Employees Award applies to farms and properties in the state industrial relations system in connection with:

  • the sowing, raising, harvesting and/or treatment of grain, fodder or other farm produce
  • the breeding, rearing or grazing of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs or deer
  • clearing, fencing, well sinking, dam sinking or trenching on farms or properties

The Farm Employees Award sets pay rates, and other employment arrangements for full time and casual employees working as:

  • farm hands
  • farm tradespersons
Wine Industry Award

The Wine Industry Award covers many types of businesses in the state industrial relations system. Businesses covered include:

  • Winery or vineyard
  • Wine distillery

The Wine Industry Award sets pay rates, working hours and other employment arrangements for employees working as:

  • Vintners
  • Bottlers
  • Vine pruners
Food Industry (Food Manufacturing or Processing) Award

The Food Industry (Food Manufacturing or Processing) Award covers many businesses in the state industrial relations system undertaking food manufacturing or processing.

Coverage of the Food Industry (Food Manufacturing or Processing) Award extends to employees engaged in the in the packing, bottling, blending, preserving, canning, refilling, pulping, brewing, mixing, grading, weighing, stamping, branding, washing, stacking, making and/or processing of vegetables.

 

Record keeping obligations

All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records. 

Employers can be fined up to $5,000 by the Industrial Magistrates Court for not keeping employment records or for keeping inadequate or fraudulent records.

Visit the Employment records – employer obligations page for details on record keeping requirements.  

If I have questions about my employment obligations such as pay rates and leave who should I contact?

State system employers should view information on pay rates on this website or call Wageline on 1300 655 266.

Other employment obligations

The horticulture industry has a range of other employment obligations - find out where you can get help with these.

 

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