The Fair Work Commission recently handed down a decision making some significant changes to the Horticulture Award. These changes apply from the first full pay period falling on or after 15 April 2019.

The changes apply specifically to casual employees and include:


Casual employees are now entitled overtime pay.

They get overtime rates when working more than:

  • 304 ordinary hours during an 8 week period
  • 12 ordinary hours on any day or engagement.

For any overtime worked, they’re paid 175% of their minimum hourly wage (this includes their 25% casual loading).

Night loading

Casual employees are also entitled to a 15% night loading if they work between 8.31pm and 4.59am. This is paid in addition to their 25% casual loading. Both loadings are calculated on their minimum hourly wage.

During daylight saving time, employers and the majority of their affected casual employees in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia can agree to shift the daily spread of hours forward by one hour. When this occurs, the 15% night loading applies between 7.31pm and 3:59am (instead of 8.31pm – 4:59 am).

Public holidays

The decision also clarified the public holiday penalty rate for casual employees.

Casual employees who work on a public holiday are paid 225% of their minimum hourly wage (this includes their 25% casual loading). Employees get this rate whether they’re working overtime hours or normal hours.


For clarity, the Horticulture Award 2010 coverage includes:

4.2 Horticulture industry means:

(a) the sowing, planting, raising, cultivation, harvesting, picking, washing, packing, storing, grading, forwarding or treating of horticultural crops in connection with a horticultural enterprise; or

(b) clearing, fencing, trenching, draining or otherwise preparing or treating land or property in connection with the activities listed at 4.2(a).

4.3 Horticulture industry does not mean:

(a) the wine industry;

(b) silviculture and afforestation;

(c) sugar farming or sugar cane growing, sugar milling, sugar refining, sugar distilleries and/or sugar terminals;

(d) any work in or in connection with cotton growing or harvesting; cotton ginneries and associated depots; cotton oil mills and the extraction of oil from seed; or

(e) plant nurseries.

You can review the Modern Award here for all the details.

If you’re unsure about how these changes apply to your business, contact our team ASAP.


*This is general information only and doesn’t take your specific business circumstances into account.