Pay rates

Although satisfying and rewarding, seasonal work can be hard and physically demanding.

You will be up and down ladders, bending and carrying and picking fruit. During harvest, working days can be long and in extreme weather conditions.

Summer months may see workers start very early (6 am) and finish by 2 pm to avoid the heat of the day.

Interested in seasonal work? Visit our Registration and Support page.

WAGES

Pay rates will vary between employer and depending on the type of job you do. You can be paid by the hour, or by production (e.g. per tree or per bin).
Employers pay pickers every week or every 2 weeks.
Depending on your employer, workers can be paid an hourly wage or a piecework rate (see explanation below)

The Horticultural Award outlines the minimum pay rates (see number 15) and other entitlements.
Under the Horticulture Award, you should expect to be paid at least:
• $19.84 for an adult full-time employee
• $24.80 for an adult casual employee
Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman pay calculator for more information.

What are Piecework Rates?

A piecework rate is where a worker earns money based on the amount they have picked, packed, pruned or made. Instead of the hours worked, an employer pays the worker for the number of kilograms or bins of produce they pick. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Horticulture showcase for more information.

We recommend that you discuss your pay rate with your employer before commencing work.

ACCOMMODATION

Some growers offer a range of accommodation options eg. onsite rooms, caravans and camping facilities.

Shared kitchens and laundries are sometimes also available and you should check with your employer on what charges are involved to use the facilities offered.

Other options include local caravan parks and backpacker hostels.

Relocation assistance

Relocation assistance for harvest work of up to $6,000 is available to eligible Australian’s and $2,000 if you are a visa holder with the right to work in Australia.
To be eligible for relocation assistance you will need to work for at least six weeks and at least 120 hours in a harvest, regional or remote area. For further information on this assistance please visit the Australian Government's Job Search website.

Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus (New Incentives)

We know that horticulture businesses have been finding it hard to attract and retain local workers in regional and remote locations.The Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus is designed to encourage jobseekers to give seasonal harvest work a go and give farmers the workforce certainty they need.The bonus is paid directly to workers in two instalments:

  • An initial $810, after 10 days of work within a 30-day period
  • A further $1,620, after an additional 30 days of work within a 90-day period.

The program is available to workers who take up seasonal harvest roles on Victorian horticulture farms, provided they:

  • meet the work requirements
  • have not worked in agriculture in Victoria in the past three months
  • start work on or after 17 February 2021
  • are 18 years or older and have work rights in Australia
  • are not employed under the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Programme.

Workers will be required to provide evidence that they have met the work requirements, but don’t need to register for the bonus until they have completed their initial 10 days of work. The online application portal will open soon, at agriculture.vic.gov.au/bigharvest

Head to agriculture.vic.gov.au/bigharvest to find out more about harvest jobs, where to find work and how to apply for the Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus.

See factsheets available below to download for further information.