Farm workers who hand-harvest crops get rate increase

The minimum wage for farm workers paid by piece rate will increase by 11.5% on Jan. 1, 2019, making life more affordable for workers who hand-harvest certain crops in B.C.

This increase is the same rate of increase made to the general minimum wage in June 2018. The last increase to the agricultural piece rates took place in September 2017.

In B.C., piece rates are set for 15 different crops, including many products enjoyed by people over the holidays, such as Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, apples, peas, grapes and green beans.

To ensure farm workers paid by piece rate are making, and continue to make, a fair wage, the Fair Wages Commission is taking an in-depth look at how to ensure compensation for farmworkers is both fair for workers and sustainable for farm operators.

Karen Taylor, an agricultural economist, is preparing a report to inform this work, which will include input from farmers, as well as workers who hand-harvest crops, on how the piece rate system is working in B.C.

The independent Fair Wages Commission was established to advise government on an approach to raising provincial minimum wages with increases that are regular, measured and predictable.

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