If you’ve decided a harvest job is right for you, there are a few things you should consider. Make sure you pick a harvest job that you can do.
Harvest work is generally tough. Depending on the crop you may have to:
- climb a ladder
- use clippers or poles
- cut crops with a knife
- dig crops up
For example, lemon and orange trees have thorns to avoid so it can be slow work. Strawberries are pretty easy, in comparison, but it means you will be on your knees all day.
If you don’t think you can keep up, consider one of the other jobs available:
Know your pay rate
Whatever job you decide on, you should know your pay rate.
Fruit picking jobs have an hourly rate or they pay you for what you actually do – a piece rate. Piece rates are paid for each bin or bucket you fill or box that you pack. The amount you earn can depend on how much fruit you pick in a day.
Sometimes areas will have no work available if they have had bad weather or the harvest is late.
Check your pay to make sure you’re getting the right amount:
- Find my award shows you which award you’re covered by
- Pay Calculator shows base pay rates
- Piece rates payments let you see your entitlements
- Written piece rate agreement to document your pay rate
- Record My Hours app will help you to keep track of your work hours
- Payslips shows you what should be on yours.
Find a place to stay
Hostels are a great way to meet people while you travel for work. You’ll find lots of hostels have great deals for harvest workers; just ask them.
Work is seasonal and flexible, you can do a few days, week or months, so caravans, campers or tents can be a good option.
Some farms will let you camp on the property. Others provide basic accommodation with a bed, food storage and cooking facilities. You may need to take your own bedding so check before you go.
Who are you working for?
Try to find out who you will be working for. You can look up a business to see if it is legit.
If someone asks you to pay them to find you work, or a hostel wants 1 months rent up front – it might be a scam.
There are good farms and bad farms. Don’t fall for a fake job ad scam!
If you like it, why not stay?
Seasonal farm workers don’t stay in one place for long. If you do, you may get more interesting, varied, and better paid work.
Who knows, you might fall in love with one of the towns you work in and decide to stay. If you do, check out how we can help you with that!