Pacific Labour Scheme

On 2 April 2019, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision external-icon.png to change the Horticulture Award. The decision changed the Horticulture Award for casual employees to include ordinary hours of work, a night loading and overtime entitlements. It also clarified the penalty rate for working on public holidays for casuals. The changes apply from the first full pay period on or after 15 April 2019.

Our Pay Calculator has been updated and can be used to calculate the overtime, night loading and public holiday penalty rates. To do this you need to select 'Show me pay rates as at 15 April 2019'.

The Horticulture Award has been updated to include the changes.

For information on how to apply the new rates, you can read our article Overtime & penalty rates for casuals in the Horticulture Award.

Our tailored information on Hours of work, When overtime applies and Working on a public holiday has also been updated.

Visit our Changes to the Horticulture Award page for more information.

The Pacific Labour Scheme allows people from Pacific island countries to work in low and semi-skilled jobs in rural and regional Australia for up to 3 years.

During coronavirus, Pacific Labour Scheme participants may be able to extend their stay. To find out more about temporary visa arrangements during coronavirus go to the Department of Home Affairs Staying in Australia page external-icon.png.

The scheme is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s engagement with the Pacific. It’s administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and supported by a managing contractor. For more information about the scheme visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website external-icon.png.

Our role in the scheme is to give advice and assistance to employers and employees to help them understand their workplace rights and obligations. Employees under the scheme have the same workplace rights as other employees in Australia.

The scheme’s focus sectors include:

  • accommodation and food services
  • health care and social assistance
  • non-seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishing. 

Employing Pacific Labour Scheme employees

To get involved in the scheme, employers must:

Resources for Pacific Labour Scheme participants

Employers and employees involved in the scheme can use our Pacific Labour Scheme resources for participants. It includes Language storyboards (short videos) in various languages including Bislama and Samoan, to assist you to understand your rights and obligations in Australian workplaces.


For information about the Pacific Labour Scheme email the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at or visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website external-icon.png.

For information and assistance on workplace entitlements you can Call us.

If you need an interpreter call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50. Tell the operator the language you speak and ask the operator to telephone us on 13 13 94.

Help for small business

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