The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) was this week successful in its application to intervene in the matter Fair Work Ombudsman v Hu & Ors (Marland Mushrooms).
The basis for the NFF’s intervention is to ensure proper construction is given to the piecework provisions in the Horticulture Award 2010.
NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said piecework rates were a fair mechanism for rewarding hard work and any move to do away with them would have wide implications.
“Marland Mushrooms has the potential to set a precedent for how the award is applied across the horticulture sector.”
Mr Mahar said under the award, piecework rates were fixed by agreement, between the employer and the employee prospectively, at a rate that enables the average, competent worker to earn at least 15 per cent more than the minimum hourly rate.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman’s approach to the award means the worker would receive at least 15% more than the award rate, regardless of how fast or hard they worked,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF has successfully sought support from the Australian Farmers’ Fighting Fund for the intervention.