Australian farm employees are paid above award rates

ABOVE AWARD: Rural Directions salary survey shows Australian farm employees are paid above award wages. Picture: Scott Gelston

ABOVE AWARD: Rural Directions salary survey shows Australian farm employees are paid above award wages. Picture: Scott Gelston

Tasmanian farm business owners participated in a salary benchmarking survey which shows the country’s farm employees are paid above award wages.

On average, farm operations assistants are paid $24.39 per hour and they are working an average of 40 hours per week. - Carlyn Sherriff

Rural Directions spoke with 84 farm businesses from Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia about 119 farming positions to produce the Farm Salary Survey Report.

Report author and Rural Directions agribusiness consultant Carlyn Sherriff said one of the key findings in the report was that Australian farm employees were paid above the award minimum, based on the Modern Pastoral Award (2010).

Farm managers receive the highest wages at an average of $73,237, but the high number of hours worked (53 each week) means a manager’s average hourly rate of $26.42 was lower than that of assistant farm managers ($28.14 an hour).

Assistant managers averaged 46 hours of work each week.

“More than half of the positions reported were farm operations assistants (61 per cent),” Ms Sherriff said.

“On average, farm operations assistants are paid $24.39 per hour and they are working an average of 40 hours per week,” she said.

This farm operations assistant role includes livestock husbandry, crop operations and machinery operation.

The survey results enabled farm business owners to benchmark their employee payments against the award, average wages paid, hours worked and additional benefits.

They can also use this information to compare their positions with similar roles in the industry throughout their state and the country.

“Employers of family and non-family labour can utilise the results within this report to review and improve their people management,” Ms Sherriff said.

“The survey provides farm employers and employees with useful information about their positions within the broader marketplace,” she said.

Of the positions reported by farm businesses, most were full time (74 per cent) and undertaken by non-family employees (77 per cent).

When looking at benefits provided to employees, Ms Sherriff said the most common were fuel, a house, rations and/or training, which showed many factors contributed to the development of a salary package for a farm employee.

“When the additional benefits were valued, the total package value increased by 17 per cent,” Ms Sherriff said.

“Each position requires important consideration regarding the requirements of the role, the level of experience required, the range of additional benefits available in excess of meeting the legislative requirements set out by the Modern Pastoral Award (2010),” she said.

The Rural Directions Farm Salary Survey is anonymous and is conducted biennially

Visit www.ruraldirections.com/fss for more information about the survey. 

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