Horticulture Showcase

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Pay & piecework rates

Avoid costly mistakes – use the information and resources on this page to get wages right.

On this page:

Pay rates

Employers must pay employees for all work performed – this includes training, meetings and mandatory work activities.

Employees in the horticulture industry are usually covered by the Horticulture Award or Wine Industry Award. An award is a legal document that provides minimum pay rates and other entitlements like leave and overtime. Labour hire workers are covered by these awards too.

Check what award an employee is covered by using our Find my award tool.

Employees under the Horticulture Award or Wine Industry Award can be paid hourly rates or piecework rates.

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Hourly rates

Employees covered by the Horticulture Award or Wine Industry Award will have different rates of pay depending on what type of work they do. Below are examples of the minimum hourly pay rates for these industries:

Type of work

Award

Min. hourly rate (adult full-time employee as at 1 July 2019)

Min. hourly rate (adult casual employee as at 1 July 2019)

Piece rates allowed

Planting, picking, sorting and packing fruit and vegetables

Horticulture Industry Award

$19.49

$24.36

Yes

Working in vineyards picking wine grapes or pruning wine grape vines

Wine Industry Award

$19.78

$24.73

Yes

 

To check award pay rates and allowances use our Pay Calculator.

For a summary of pay rates in each award download the award Pay guide.

Employers can face significant penalties when they don't pay employees their correct pay and entitlements. A court can penalise a company that underpays its workers up to $630,000 per contravention. For more information about penalties, go to our Litigation page.

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Piecework rates

A piecework rate is where an employee gets paid by the piece. It's based on the amount the employee has picked, packed, pruned or made.

A piecework rate is based on individual effort only, not on group effort.

Diagram showing that piecework rates are not based on group effort but on individual effort

Employees getting piecework rates are paid by output, such as the number of kilograms or bins of produce picked, rather than hourly rates for time worked.

Tip: Piecework practices that employers should avoid:

  • Don’t ask workers to overload buckets or bins
  • Don’t ask workers to pick bad produce for free
  • Don’t apply group rates, where a group of workers is paid at a combined rate.

To learn more go to How to use piecework agreements.

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 Tax & superannuation

Employees in Australia need to pay tax – even if they are paid in cash.

Employees in Australia need a Tax File Number (TFN) and need to give it to their employer. Where required, the employer needs to withhold and remit tax from the employee’s pay to the Australian Taxation Office.

Employees who meet certain requirements must be paid superannuation by their employer. If a worker is on a temporary visa, they may be able to claim this payment when they leave.

The ATO gives advice about tax and superannuation. Find out more on the ATO website:

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More information about pay & piecework rates

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Resources