Following concerns over a lack of migrant labour as a consequence of Brexit, the government is significantly expanding its Seasonal Workers Pilot, which was first announced in 2018, in order to boost the UK horticulture sector for the 2020 harvest.
The scheme, which permits agricultural businesses to take on seasonal migrant workers from outside the EU for up to six months, will now be made four times bigger. Industry groups have been calling the pilot ineffective in the light of a significant drop in seasonal worker numbers – some as much as 20 per cent – following the vote to leave the EU.
Environment Secretary George Eustice announced on 19 February that in 2020 farmers can hire up to 10,000 workers, a fourfold increase on the previous 2,500.
This is welcome news. When taking on Seasonal Workers it is important to note, firstly, that UK farmers are required by law to issue contracts to all their seasonal workers, and, secondly, that from April this year the law is changing, and will oblige farmers to include greater detail in their contracts. Not only that, but employers must also issue contacts to all seasonal workers either before the work starts or, at the latest, on their first day of work.
Moore Barlow’s employment team can provide you with advice and assistance in documenting agreements with your Seasonal Workers.