Wage bills will be in sharp focus with the minimum wage increase to €9.55 per hour from €9.25, since the start of January. Speaking with growers many have no choice but to pay above the minimum to ensure they can recruit capable employees.
A good up-to-date resource for employers is the Teagasc Farm Labour Book (pdf). It has contributions from Teagasc specialists and the Workplace Relations Commission. While focused on the dairy industry it has many identical aspects of horticulture. Topics covered include:
- Hiring Staff
- Employment Law
- Staff management and Retention
- Rewarding employees
- Safety health and welfare
Horticulture Industry Forum Lobby on labour supply shortage
Labour is, without doubt, a significant limiting factor to growers expanding and capitalizing on opportunities developing from Brexit or European plant health worries. Both skilled and unskilled labour are in high demand. The HIF are working with government departments to develop strategies to respond to this critical shortage before it is too late. I estimate there are shortages of 25-30 full-time grower managers in nursery stock and ornamental production. I also estimate an additional 300 general operatives could have been employed last year at the peak of the season if they were available. There is a growing crisis for fruit and vegetable production; even the farming sector are getting worried. This will be the biggest challenge for 2018 for very many growers.