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 Agricultural Wages in Scotland
Employment law

Agricultural Wages in Scotland



The Scottish Government has recently released a guide for workers and employers with regards to agricultural wages in Scotland. Information contained in the guide is for guidance only and contains important information for those working the agricultural sector.

The rates quoted in the guide relate to minimum rates set from 1 April 2019 with such rates being in effect from that date.

It is important to note that the guide sets out the minimum rates of pay and other conditions to which workers are entitled to.  Employers may, if they so wish, pay more in these minimum rates or offer better conditions of service.

What counts as an agricultural worker?

An agricultural worker is someone who works in:

  • farming and rearing animals
  • growing produce including non-edible crops like bulbs, plants and flowers
  • forestry, market gardens and nurseries
  • maintaining meadow or pasture land, woodlands and reed beds

Rates of Pay

Within the guide the following is provided for:

  • A minimum hourly rate of £8.21 for all workers.
  • A minimum hourly rate of £5.30 per hour for workers who undertake an SCQF level 4 or 5 equivalent in agriculture/horticulture.
  • The dog allowance has been increased to £6.24 per week for each dog up a maximum of four.
  • The additional sum payable to workers with appropriate qualifications will increase to £1.25 per hour.
  • The daily rate of the accommodation offset for accommodation all in the house is £7.55.
  • A minimum hourly rate of £12.32 for overtime for all workers.

What Counts as Overtime?

For those with up to 26 weeks continuous service overtime must be paid when a worker works more than eight hours in any day or for more than 48 hours in any week.  No overtime can be counted twice.  It is either paid because an individual works more than 8 hours per day or because they have worked in excess of 48 hours for that week, but not both.

For those employees with over 26 weeks continuous service overtime must be paid when the worker works more than eight hours in any day or for more than 39 hours in any week.

As above overtime cannot be counted twice.

Holiday Entitlement

Holiday entitlement depends upon the number of days that an employee would be expected to work in the course of a regular working week.  In addition, two special holidays are set which are Christmas Day and New Year’s Day respectively.

Holiday entitled is per the table below

Number of days worked per week Number of days holiday per year
1 8
2 13
3 18
4 23
5 28
6 33


Agricultural Sick Pay

To qualify for any agricultural sick pay, a worker must have been in continuous employment with the same employer for at 52 weeks.

The minimum number of days sick pay to which a worker may be entitled in any 52 week period is calculated by multiplying the number of days they are contracted to work in a week by 13.

Therefore if a worker is contracted to work five days a week they would be entitled to 65 days sick pay in any 52 week period.

Where a worker absence continues beyond 52 weeks they will become entitled to a further 13 weeks period of sick pay.

What benefits can be counted towards payment of wages  

The only benefit provided by an employer to a worker which can be counted as part payment of the minimum wage is provision of a house without charge.  The value for this benefit will be £1 per week and this amount may be deducted from the workers’ pay even if this would reduce the gross pay to below the statutory minimum.

All the reductions for meals, petrol, council tax etc. may be deducted from pay by written agreement between employer and worker but such deductions must not reduce the workers’ gross pay below the minimum level to which they are entitled accord to the wages order.

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