Consultation on the proposal to revoke the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 (Abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board)

Closed 8 Jul 2021

Opened 14 May 2021


The Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for Northern Ireland is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).  The AWB operates under the provisions of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (NI) Order 1977 (the 1977 Order).

Under the 1977 Order the Board, in respect of agricultural workers in Northern Ireland, has the power to:

  • set the minimum rate of pay;
  • determine the type and value of deductions that an employer may make from a worker’s gross pay;
  • set the amount of holiday entitlement and holiday pay; and
  • set the level of sick pay.

The 1977 Order also provides for enforcement of AWB Orders.

Employment legislation has improved significantly across the board since the AWB was founded. Similar protections and provisions to those contained in the AWB legislation have since been introduced for all other sectors (with some differences in qualifying thresholds and level of entitlements).  This includes legislation covering minimum wage, holiday entitlement and sick pay.  Agriculture is now the only sector to remain under a separate regime.  The DAERA Minister therefore intends to bring proposals forward for consideration by the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, which would bring the agriculture sector into alignment with all other sectors in Northern Ireland by revoking the founding legislation and abolishing the AWB.

Why we are consulting

DAERA is seeking stakeholder views on the proposal to abolish the AWB through the revocation of the Agricultural Wages Order 1977.  Stakeholders are also invited to consider the regulatory, equality and rural impacts of this proposal.  Your views will help to inform the development of the final policy proposals before the DAERA Minister brings the proposal forward for consideration by the NI Executive and Assembly.

What happens next

If, following consideration of stakeholder comments and subject to the development of final policy proposals, the Minister decides to bring forward the proposal to abolish the AWB and revoke the 1977 Order, he will seek to introduce a Bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly, with the agreement of the Executive.  The Bill will take a number of months to complete its Assembly passage before coming into law.


  • Anyone from any background


  • Farming
  • Agriculture
  • Labour Market
  • Rural
  • Consultation
  • Employment