Welsh farmers face up to 5% rise in worker wage rates

The Welsh government has released details of the agricultural wage rate increases for farmworkers and apprentices.

The revisions increase minimum rates for all grades and categories of workers.

For example, grades three to six will receive a 1.2% rise on 2016 wage levels, while the hourly rate for grade two workers has gone up by about 2% to £7.54.

The biggest percentage increases were for younger workers.

Rates for these grade one workers have been simplified from several different categories based on age to two bands in line with the newly introduced national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW).

For 16-24-year old workers the rate will be £7.06/hour – 1p above the NMW and up by more than 5% on the previous rate of £6.72/hour. Workers over 25 will be paid £7.51/hour, 1p over the NLW – a hike of 4% above last year’s rate of £7.21/hour.

See also: Employers need to be on alert for HMRC minimum wage checks

All but one category of apprentices have seen pay rates rise. The one category remaining the same is year one apprentices who will continue to earn £3.78/hour.

The provisions of the new order were applied from the 3 November and will be backdated to 1 April 2017.

It is the first wages order based on recommendations made by the independent Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales, formed in April 2016.

The panel replaced the former Agricultural Wages Board which covered rate increases until it was abolished in 2013.

The following tables – published by NFU Cymru – set out the 2016 and 2017 rates in detail.

Grade or category of worker

Minimum hourly rate 2016

Minimum hourly rate 2017

Grade one worker of compulsory school age (13-16)



Grade one worker (16–24 years of age)

(for ages 16-20) £6.72

(for ages 21-24) £6.72 until 1 October 2016

£6.95 from 1 October 2016 – 31 March 2017

£7.06 (1p more than national minimum wage for 21-24-year-olds)

Grade one worker (aged 25 and over)

£6.72 until 1 April 2016

£7.20 from 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2017

£7.51  (1p more than the national living wage (NLW)

Grade two worker


£7.54  (4p more than NLW)

Grade three worker



Grade four worker



Grade five worker



Grade six worker



Category of apprentice

2016 rates

2017 rates

Year one apprentice



Year two apprentice (aged 16-17)



Year two apprentice (aged 18-20)



Year two apprentice (aged 21-24)



Year two apprentice (aged 25 plus)*

£6.70 (until 31 March 2016)

£7.20 (1 April 2016-31 March 2017)


*Categorised as year two apprentice (aged 21 and over) in 2016 order.