What do you need to know about Backpacker Tax?

The agricultural sector is a popular place for overseas workers and backpackers to search for employment. Farm jobs, such as picker packers, farm hands, and even housekeeping, are great temporary positions for travellers to take up.

This kind of employee requires particular treatment when it comes to taxes. There are different criteria when it comes to dealing with an ‘Australian Resident’ as compared to a ‘Foreign Resident’. The People in Agriculture “Overseas Workers and Taxation” fact sheet states:

“Foreign residents pay a higher rate of tax and they are not entitled to a tax-free threshold which means they pay tax on every dollar of income they earn in Australia. […] Generally, the ATO considers a person to be an Australian resident for tax purposes if they:

  • Have always lived in Australia or […] have come to Australia and now live here permanently; are an overseas student doing a course that takes more than six months to complete;
  • Have been in Australia continuously for six months or more, and for most of that time worked in the one job and lived in the same place;
  • Will be or have been in Australia for more than half of the financial year (unless their usual home is overseas and they do not intend to live in Australia)."

It’s important to be aware of the rates at which employers should be taxing farm jobs in which foreign residents (backpackers) are employed. Backpackers can be a great asset to your roster for farm jobs such as machinery operators and general farm hands – so don’t be put off by a little extra research!

It’s Ag Show Season!

There are 2 upcoming Agricultural Shows in April. The Harvey Agricultural Show is running on the 28th, and the Balingup Small Farm Field Day is running on April 21st. Visit their websites to find out about all the fantastic events and competitions running this year. Hopefully you will be able to take some time off to support your local agricultural show in 2018. Rural Enterprises will keep you updated through our blog with dates for upcoming shows - we will make sure you don't miss out!

Seeding Recruitment

Seeding recruitment is well underway for 2018 and Emma and Renae are working away to find YOU their best candidates! If you haven’t already, register your job vacancy details now. You can also review the Featured Candidates on our website to get a taster of those available.

Permanent Jobs

Fantastic client of ours with great history of long term staff and great feedback from previous casuals. A permanent Senior Farm Hand/2IC is required in Lake King, Western Australia. If you are looking for a step up in your career, this is a great stepping stone as the farmer is very supportive in training the right person for this position. Excellent/new modern machinery with GPS/Autosteer. This is a very relaxed working environment and would suit those looking for a work/family life balance. Click here for more details…

Featured Candidates

Estonian couple, both grew up on farms & have operating experience. 25 & 20 years old, both non smokers and look to work on the same farm. WHV until December 2018. Own vehicle and AVAILABLE NOW. Both seeking a machinery operating role, ideally on the air seeder. Both looking for $25 per hour. Flexible on location. Both worked in WA recently spreading Fertiliser on a Fendt 930 & JD6930, also operated a Loader and Dump Trucks. They have livestock & fencing experience. Both received a great reference from this farmer advising both would be capable and competent operating a seeder.

Permanent Candidate: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 45, non-smoker, MC truck licence. Currently based in Queensland and wants to relocate to WA with his wife. Looking for a 2IC/Overseers role on a cropping or mixed property. Has been an Overseer on a property that grew both dryland and irrigation crops, cattle and sheep. He is currently an Operations Manager for an earth moving company that also provides agricultural services including seeding and harvesting. He is in sole charge of the agricultural side as well as responsible for the maintenance of the earth moving equipment, trucks and farm machinery. Has many years’ experience managing staff. Has also designed, modified and fabricated implement. Although he does not have a mechanical qualification, he has many years’ experience in both mechanics and fabrication. Will be staying with his current employer ( of 10 years) until after seeding so will be available mid-July. Extremely nice guy that has a very impressive resume!

Safety in the Farming Environment

Workplace Safety is a key component to the success of any business – that goes without saying. But on a working farm, safety becomes paramount. As all our clients know, farming jobs can be dangerous. It’s hard to list another industry, after all, where an employee may be exposed to so much machinery, outdoor weather, physical exertion…the list goes on!

The People in Ag’s Safety in the Workplace article states the following for Farming Jobs and Farm Managers:

“[The] employer should cover health and safety policies and procedures on the farm, including where these policies and procedures are kept, during the Induction process. [The] employer will most likely give [the employee] a safety induction checklist that has information relevant to [the] workplace."

It is crucial to the ongoing general safety of a working farm that all accidents and potential hazards should be reported to the employer or farm manager if and when they happen so that future measures can be put in place to prevent similar circumstances occurring again.

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Contracts for Full Time Farm Hands and Farm Workers

Following on from the theme of our last blog post, this week we will talk about creating contracts for full-time Farm Hands and Farm Workers.  

The People in Agriculture website states the following under Employment Contract on their Documents you will need to Employ Someone page:

All employees, should be provided with a written contract signed by both the employer and the employee. […] Contracts should include the classification, pay rate, hours of work, any shift penalties or loading, leave entitlements, and notice period for termination of employment.

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Award Rates & Contracts for Farm Managers

It can be difficult to navigate all of the technicalities when it comes to hiring staff for farm work in the agricultural sector. It is the nature of the industry to attract people from all walks of life, from families looking for a permanent change to backpackers wanting to experience a single season, and it is important to know what rates and awards apply to different categories of employees.

Not only do farm jobs attract people from diverse backgrounds, but positions also vary greatly: shearers, stockmen, general farm hands, managers and more - and all of these positions require specific treatment when it comes to award rates and drawing up a contract.

Take Farm Managers, for example.

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WA Award Rates - are you in the know?

It is important for the clients/employers who use our services to understand the state industrial laws of Western Australia in order to lawfully employ Rural Enterprises’ candidates. State Industrial Laws cover areas including minimum conditions of employment and leave entitlements for employees, and you can find information specifically relating to farm jobs.

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