Health and Safety: Quad Bikes

Quad bikes can be useful pieces of farming machinery when used correctly. But, used incorrectly, they can be deadly. 

In 2013, there were 15 reported deaths involving a quad bike on a farming property in Australia, and 39 injury events were also reported on Australian farms during the same year. Worryingly, a considerable number of these events involved children.

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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:

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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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