The agricultural wage in Ireland has, for many years, governed what agricultural workers have been paid.

However, after a legal challenge in 2013 the agricultural wage was abolished and farm workers are now covered by the National Minimum Wage.

The current National Minimum Wage for an experienced adult worker is €8.65.

The Act applies to all employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary and casual employees, except the following categories of employees who are excluded from its provisions:

  • close relatives of the employer, such as a spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister; and,
  • apprentices within the meaning of the Industrial Training Act 1967 and Labour Services Act 1987, including an apprentice printer, bricklayer, mechanic, plumber, carpenter/joiner and electrician.

An experienced adult worker is an employee who is over the age of 18 and is not in their first two years of employment since turning 18.

Northern Ireland

The ‘Grade 1 Minimum Rate’ of wages for local agricultural workers in Northern Ireland was increased in  October.

The Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland (AWB) announced that the ‘Grade 1 Minimum Rate’ of wages increased from £6.47 per hour to £6.50 per hour from October 1, 2014.

This increase was in line with a scheduled increase in the National Minimum Wage from that date.

The pay increase applies to Grade 1 workers only. The minimum rates of pay for Grade 2 – Grade 6 agricultural workers remain unchanged.

The rates of pay from October 1, 2014 are:
  • Minimum Rate, applicable for the first 40 weeks cumulative employment – £6.50 per hour.
  • Grade 2 – Standard worker – £6.77 per hour.
  • Grade 3 – Lead worker – £7.44 per hour.
  • Grade 4 – Craft Grade – £7.99 per hour.
  • Grade 5 – Supervisory Grade – £8.46 per hour.
  • Grade 6 – Farm Management Grade – £9.16 per hour.