Rural Employment Myth Busters

March 21, 2017

Rural employment has witnessed a revolution in a single generation. Farming businesses used to be closely held concerns employing mainly family; employees largely shared the same kind of employment status; and there were more relaxed attitudes to documentation. It’s different now.

Farm employers draw their teams from all over. The compliance environment is highly regulated.


Don’t get caught relying on these employment myths:

Myth: If my employees are on salary, I don’t need to keep wage and time records or holiday and leave records.

Busted: Salary arrangements must be supported by a robust method for time recording to make sure each hour worked is paid at not less than minimum wage.

Myth: It’s ok if my employees work extra hours during lambing, if they’re on salary – it all averages out.

Busted: If hours worked go up during a high season, the employer has to check wages are at least equivalent to minimum wage per hour worked.

Myth: It’s ok to record all time off the same way.

Busted: Records need to distinguish clearly between rostered time off, holidays, public holidays, and alternative holidays agreed when an employee works on a public holiday.

Myth: We didn’t pay our employee for a public holiday they worked but it’s ok as we supply him or her with power (or food or firewood).

Busted: If an employee works a public holiday, he or she is entitled to be paid time and a half for it and may also be entitled to an alternative day off.

Myth: We deduct the cost of employee accommodation from wages. We recently put up the deduction but it’s ok because it’s in line with Inland Revenue guidelines.

Busted: All deductions from wages (e.g. for accommodation, power, food) must be discussed and agreed by employers and employees. These agreements must be documented. If the arrangements change, that also needs to be agreed with employees and documented.

Myth: Working out holiday pay is easy.

Busted: Lots of employers are getting it wrong.


For further information, please dont hesitate to contact us on (03) 379 0829. 

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