Piecework agreement – horticulture industry

Steps for preparing a piecework agreement in the horticulture industry

Step 1: Check the Horticulture Award

The Horticulture Award contains special provisions for pieceworkers. You should check clause 15 of the award to make sure you understand your obligations in relation to pieceworkers.

Step 2: Talk to the employee

If you and your employee want the employee to work as a pieceworker, you should meet with them and agree to one or more piece rates. In deciding on piecework rates you should consider what work they’ll be doing and how much work an ‘average competent employee’ would be able to do per hour. A piecework rate must:

  • enable the ‘average competent employee’ to earn at least 15% more per hour than the relevant minimum hourly rate in the Horticulture Award
  • be paid for all work performed in accordance with the piecework agreement.

Step 3: Create your agreement

Piecework agreements must be in writing and be signed by you and your employee. Once you and your employee have agreed to piecework rates, fill in the template below.

Step 4: Provide the agreement to the employee and keep a copy for your records

Once you’ve signed the agreement, provide a copy to the employee and keep a copy as part of your time and wage records.

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Important notes

  • The piecework rate/s must enable an ‘average competent employee’ to earn at least 15% more per hour than the minimum hourly rate in the Award for their type of employment and classification level.[1].
  • The piecework rate for an ‘average competent employee’ may change from day-to-day depending upon variables like weather conditions; ripening process; type of bin; type of picking (e.g. selective or stripping),pruning or packing; size of trees/plants; density of trees/plants. The Agreement can include a number of piecework rates for these variable situations or you can agree to vary the Agreement or make a new Agreement for each change.
  • The piecework rate/s should be reviewed in light of any changes in the Award rate.
  • If the piecework rate/s is varied, it must be agreed between the Employee and Employer, put in writing and signed by both.
  • The piecework rate/s must be paid for all work performed in accordance with the Agreement. The piecework rate/s will be paid instead of the hourly or weekly wages specified in clause 14 of the Award.[2]
  • Casual employees also get a casual loading.
  • The following clauses of the Horticulture Award do not apply to an employee on a piecework rate:
    • (a) Clause 22—Ordinary hours of work and rostering;
    • (b) Clause 24—Overtime; and
    • (c) Clause 24.3—Meal allowance
  • The Employee’s earnings will depend on their productivity. The Agreement does not guarantee that the Employee will earn at least the minimum weekly or hourly wage in the Award for the type of employment and the classification level of the Employee.
  • The Employer must give the Employee a copy of the piecework agreement and the Employer must keep it as an employment record.
  • The Employer should keep a record of how they calculated the piecework rates.

[1] Guidance on calculating piecework rates is available on our Piece rates & commission payments page.

[2] The Work performed in accordance with this Agreement is as described in paragraph 1 and Schedule A to the Agreement. Any additional work must be paid according to clause 14 of the Award.

All References from Australia Fair Work OMBUDSMAN


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