Wage rise of 1.4pc is recommended for farm workers by agents Strutt and Parker
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2008
A 1.4pc rise in farm workers' wages has been recommended by a rural property consultancy, as a guide for rural employers.
Since the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) was disbanded in 2013, there are no official figures on which to base the annual pay review in England, which traditionally takes effect from October.
Jason Cantrill, a farming consultant in the Norwich office of Strutt and Parker, said the 1.4pc rise recommended to the firm's clients this year would raise the standard worker's rate (Grade 2) to £7.50 per hour – mirroring the National Living Wage – and the craftsman's rate (Grade 4) to £8.85 per hour, with other pay grades rising accordingly.
'In coming to this conclusion, we have taken into account factors including the approach taken by the remaining Agricultural Wages Boards, the level of recent public sector pay awards, rising pension contributions and the rate of inflation,' he said.
'The pay bodies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all agreed that the minimum rate for workers over 25 years of age should be the same as the National Living Wage at £7.50 per hour, with the equivalent of the craftsman's rate ranging between £8.46 per hour and £8.72 per hour.
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'Generally speaking, public sector wage rises have again been capped at 1pc this year, as they have been for the previous three years, and over the 12 months to July 2017 the Retail Price Index rose by 3.6pc and the Consumer Price Index by 2.6pc.
'We have also taken into consideration that all employers are now required to contribute to an employee's pensions scheme, through auto-enrolment, unless the employee has opted out.
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'Currently the minimum contribution is 1pc of earnings, but this will rise to 2pc in April 2018 (and to 3pc in April 2019) – equating to an additional 1pc above and beyond the pay award, albeit delayed for six months.'
Mr Cantrill warned that there was an 'unfortunate flip-side' for employees, as their own contribution to their pension fund is required to rise to 3pc next April and then to 5pc in April 2019.
However, he pointed out the basic wage rates for most public sector workers do not take into account a range of other perks which might apply to farm workers, such as free housing and no commuting costs.
Strutt and Parker recommended a 1pc wage increase in the last two years, 2.3pc in 2014 and 1.9pc in 2013.