You employer must pay you in accordance with the Agricultural Wages Order, the minimum wage under this order is currently
Basic: £6.21 per hour (39 hours per week)- £6.22 in Scotland
Overtime: £9.32 per hour (over 39 hours per week) - £9.33 in Scotland
The order has a number of different wage rates depending on the type of job / level of experience, normally if you are working as a manual harvester you will be paid at Grade 1 (the rates above). The above rates are 'gross' this means that you will will have deductions such as income Tax and National Insurance taken deducted. On top of your wage you will earn holiday pay for each day that you work, the number of days holiday pay is calculated based on the number of days you work on average over a week and the total days worked. Holiday pay is paid when you take your holiday or when you leave the farm.
Most manual harvesting positions will be paid on a piece rate basis, this means you will be set a target depending on the crop and field you are working in which you must attain. If you do not reach the target then your wages will be topped up to the correct hourly rate, but you may not be offered any more work. Once you start picking over the targets you will earn more than the minimum wage:
'The more you pick the more you earn'
The number of hours offered per day and the days work is available will vary, this is often due to the crop and the weather. You will need to be willing to work on weekends, often farms start work early in the morning to avoid picking in the midday heat (05.00am - 06.00am). Most aim to work 6-8 hours per day over 5-6 days per week, but you need to be flexible.
Most farms pay your wages one week in arrears directly into a UK bank account (many will help you to open an account).
You will be subject to paying Income Tax and National Insurance (just like any other worker in the UK). You pay tax on your wages through a system called PAYE (Pay As You Earn). Your employer uses this system to deduct Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from your wages before they pay you. Everyone can earn a certain amount each year without paying Tax, this is called your personal allowance, unless you are a student and sign a P36s you will most likely have income tax deducted and then have to claim it back when you leave the farm via your P45 (basic rate of income tax is 20% on earnings up to £37400). You can earn up to £95 a week before you start paying National Insurance, any earnings about this you will have to pay 11% as NICs.
If you just work a basic week (39 hours) at the minimum wage then you will earn a weekly gross amount of £242.19
When picking fruit on piece rates, a picker can earn anything between £200 - £450+ a week depending on how good a picker they are (guide only)