New single agricultural minimum wage good news for young agricultural workers says Harper

> SNP MSP for South Scotland Emma Harper has said that the announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing of an across the board rise in the agricultural minimum wage to £7.50, in line with the UK National Living wage, is good news for young agricultural workers.
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> The National living Wage is set at £7.50 for workers over 25 but drops to £6.95 for workers aged 21-24 and further still to £5.55 for workers aged 18-22. The Agricultural Wages Board for England & Wales was abolished in 2013 by the Tory/Lib-Dem Coalition Government.
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> Commenting, Emma said:
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> “This increase is good news for agricultural workers under 25 in particular and the move to a single minimum wage for everyone working in agriculture, regardless of age and duties, is a big step forward for the industry in my view. I am sure it will help to attract more young folk into the industry, which is very much needed.
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> “I have never been keen on a pay structure in which two people doing the same job can be paid different rates on the basis of their age. I am very pleased that the Scottish Government is ending that anomaly in the one area of minimum wage legislation it has control over.
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> “The situation in Scotland as far as agricultural wages are concerned is significantly different to the situation in England and Wales, where their Agricultural Wages Board was abolished by the Tory/Lib-Dem Coalition in 2013.
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> “Today’s announcement is clear evidence that the Scottish approach continues to work well and is making sensible decisions which protect agricultural workers’ interests.”
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> Notes to Editors:
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> The following changes in agricultural wage rates come into effect as from 1st April 2017:
> • A single minimum hourly rate of £7.50 for all agricultural workers, irrespective of age and duties, that is equal to the UK Government’s National Living Wage
> • The overtime rate for workers during the first 26 weeks of employment will start after 48 hours in the week is worked and at the rate of 1.5 times the agreed hourly rate above
> • The overtime rate for all workers after 26 weeks continuous employment will start after 39 hours is worked at the rate of 1.5 times the agreed hourly rate above
> • An hourly rate of £4.40 (an increase of 38p per hour) for workers who undertake a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture
> • An additional sum of £1.14 per hour for workers who have an appropriate qualification (an increase of 4p an hour)
> • An additional allowance of £5.60 per working dog (an increase of 11p per dog) up to a maximum of 4 dogs
> • An increase in the daily rate of the accommodation offset for accommodation other than a house to £6.00 (an increase of 65p per day).
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> A revised Wages Order detailing the SAWB’s agreed changes will come into effect on the 1st of April 2017 together with a supportive Guide to Agricultural Wages in Scotland.
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> The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board is an autonomous body and comprises 17 members, with six representing the interests of employers nominated by the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), six members representing the interests of workers nominated by Unite the Union, and five independent members appointed by Scottish Ministers, one of whom is designated Chair.
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