Our members can avoid being caught out by new employment legislation by referring to a new NFU post-AWB information pack, which has been published online today.
The pack has been created in response to the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales and the Agricultural Wages Order. It provides practical, down-to-earth guidance and covers both existing staff and new workers employed on or after 1 October 2013.
We strongly recommend employers take legal advice before they make changes to existing workers' terms and conditions, and when taking on new ones.
High on the list of priorities should be to ensure businesses are not breaching the Agricultural Wages Order up until September 30, which could see claimants recouping for underpayments for up to six years of payments from the date of the breach if farmers are not compliant.
NFU chief economist Phil Bicknell said: "NFU Farmer and Grower members should make sure they get hold of the information pack and read through to ensure their businesses are not in breach of any regulations.
"It is all too easy when running a business to overlook updates in legislation and changes in practice, but the penalties for doing so can be severe.
"The AWB was an outdated board and its abolition brings farming in line with the other major industries in the country. We are urging members to make sure they are aware of the implications of the changes and the flexibility they bring, information which this pack provides. The changes apply to all agricultural and horticultural businesses and the information will assist them in the smooth and effective running of their business."
The NFU has collaborated with other organisations, including NFU Mutual in relation to agricultural sick pay policy; Acas, who provide training and advice on better working relationships and the NFU Legal Panel Firms, who will assist with meetings and provide independent advice on members' specific circumstances.