Where can I find work?
The best place to start is to search the Harvest Trail website.
Then use the ‘Filter by’ location option under the map and select TAS to find your Tassie harvest job.
Tasmanian employers have already started promoting harvest jobs in preparation for the upcoming harvest period.
To speak directly with someone about job opportunities and how to register for jobs call the Harvest Trail Information Service on 1800 062 332.
What jobs are close to me?
The Harvest Trail website shows the locations of the various growers seeking seasonal and harvest workers. You can use this information to determine how close they are to your location.
Do I have to have experience?
Experience is not always necessary, and many growers will provide on farm training for the work being undertaken. Please refer to the advertisement for the requirement for experience.
How hard is seasonal work?
Harvesting and related agriculture roles will vary depending on the type of business that you work for.
Picking, harvesting and packing jobs can be physical work at times and can involve being outdoors through all weather conditions. But these jobs can also be a fun and rewarding experience. You will be part of a supportive team, often working outside in the fresh air and you are bound to make new friends.
Given the physical nature of the work there might be some time for your body to adjust to the different muscle groups being used.
However, recent advances in farm technology, such as picking platforms, raised bed farming, covered cropping and automated grading machines have made some of the available roles less physically demanding.
What hours are involved?
This will depend on the employer and the type of role being undertaken. Some roles will require early starts as the daily picking may need to be completed before weather conditions change.
Generally, during the harvest season growers are looking for 30+ hours per week.
How much money can I earn picking fruit?
The amount earned will depend on your employer and the job you do, as some will pay an hourly rate while others will pay a piece rate which varies depending on how much you pick or pack. There can also be differences between different commodities (e.g. berries, apples, cherries).
Pay rates (as at 16 September 2020) for both awards are equal to or higher than the minimum hourly wage rate of $19.49 per hour.
|Planting, picking, sorting and packing fruit and vegetables||Horticulture industry award||$19.49||$24.36||Yes|
|Working in vineyards picking wine grapes or pruning wine grape vines||Wine industry award||$19.78||$24.73||Yes|
If you are on an hourly rate you can look at the fairwork pay calculator to work out what the rate should be paid.
How does the Piece Rate work?
- the piece rate is paid on how much you pick, pack or prune each day
- your employer can do a combination of piece rate and hourly rate shifts
- there should not be group rates, piece rates are based on what you pick yourself
- to work on piece rates only you must have a written and signed piecework agreement
- piece Rates vary on a number of factors including the availability of fruit, density of planting and the weather conditions
As you grow to be a good picker you have the opportunity to earn more than the base rate in the Horticulture Award:
- for horticulture the average piece rate worker must be able to earn more than 15 per cent more per hour than they would on the minimum hourly rate
- for the wine industry the average piece rate worker must be able to earn more than 20 per cent more per hour than they would on the minimum hourly rate
Piece rate pay can allow you to control your earning potential but even if you are just starting out and still learning to pick, in most cases you will still earn a minimum wage.
Have a chat with your employer about the range of money a first-year picker can earn on piece rates.
How can I manage my hours?
You can download the free Record My Hours APP to record and store your hours plus other information about your employment. It is free and comes in many languages.
How much can I earn before it will impact JobSeeker?
The basic JobSeeker rate is $565.70 per fortnight. There is currently a fortnightly $550 Coronavirus supplement (a total of $1,115.70 per fortnight). The supplement will decrease to $250 per fortnight from 25 September to 31 December (a total of $815.70 per fortnight).
A harvest worker could expect to earn well above the $300 per fortnight ‘income free area’ meaning that payments would reduce by 60 cents for every dollar earned above that amount.
Yes, your JobSeeker payment could be impacted but there is the possibility to earn more as a picker or a worker in a pack house. A first-year cherry picker would typically receive around $1,500 to $2,500 per fortnight while a casual worker in the shed may earn around $1,950 per fortnight.
You should seek advice from Services Australia on 132 850
If English is not your first language and you need help understanding JobSeeker phone the Centrelink Multilingual Phone Service 131 202.
How do I get to my job?
This will vary depending on the location and employer. Some organisation supply transport to their farm.
The Government’s Agricultural Workforce Resilience Package includes an industry-sponsored boost to regional transport. More details will become available as industry initiates these programs.
Speaking with potential employers about transport options is a good place to start.
What types of work are on offer?
Work varies from farm to farm, but the types of work will be outlined on job advert. (e.g. Planting, thinning, picking, packing, sorting, pruning).
Training may be available and on-farm Induction must be undertaken.
Should I do an induction when I first start?
You should be advised about work health and safety including the company’s Workplace COVID-19 Plan and Welcome to the Workplace publication.
Is there anything I can do to increase my work prospects?
Agcard is a pre-induction tool developed by Primary Employers Tasmania. There is no cost for employees to complete the practical training prior to 30 June 2021.
When do the jobs start?
The start date will depend on the job and the industry (fruit/vegetable grown). There are currently jobs being advertised on the Harvest Trail website.
Can I stay at one farm the whole time?
The ability to stay at the one farm will depend on the scale of the farm, the fruit/vegetable gown and the activity undertaken.
Some fruits have a very sort season (e.g. Cherries) and the harvest, and packing will be complete in a few weeks. While other farms growing berries in poly tunnels will have a season that last several months.
Why is there such a demand for seasonal (harvest) workers this year?
In a typical year more than 9,000 seasonal jobs are required over spring and summer in agriculture alone for harvesting, packing and processing work. Up to 60% of harvest work in Tasmania during October to March has traditionally been completed by backpackers or other temporary visa holders in previous seasons.
COVID-19 and travel restrictions have reduced backpacker and temporary visa holder numbers in Tasmania to less than half the usual number, creating an opportunity for even more Tasmanian residents to work in these jobs.
The types of seasonal jobs include picking, packing and processing fruit and vegetables and they can also involve working with machinery.
This is a terrific opportunity for Tasmanian residents to broaden their experiences, getting to know our regions and all they have to offer.
Will mainland seasonal workers be permitted to enter Tasmania to take up harvest jobs?
Yes. Although employers are encouraging Tasmanian residents to take up job vacancies, there remains a concern that there will not be enough workers to fill the vacancies. A decision has been made that from midnight on Sunday 20 September 2020, an employer/business can access experienced seasonal agricultural workers (including temporary visa holders under the Seasonal Worker Programme, Pacific Labour Scheme and Working Holiday Maker classes) from interstate non-affected areas.
These experienced seasonal agricultural workers will be permitted enter Tasmania for the purpose of participating in the 2020-21 Tasmanian agricultural harvest season (including harvest, packing and processing roles).
Experienced and trained workers will play a significant role in supporting inexperienced workers who are taking up seasonal work for the first time in the 2020-21 season, particularly around correct work technique and the safe use of farm and processing equipment.
More information about seasonal agricultural workers can be found on the Tasmanian Government's coronavirus website.