Helping farmers avoid staffing headaches during harvest

Last week more than 60 members of the UK’s agriculture community logged on to Farmers Weekly’s inaugural Business Clinic webinar – a broadcast version of the publication’s hugely successful Q&A feature – to receive free legal, financial, tax, insurance, farm management and land issues advice from industry experts.

Taking her place on the panel was Natalie Ward, an associate solicitor in Thrings’ Employment team, who spoke about workers’ employment status, immigration and ‘right to work’ checks, and farmers’ legal obligations in the context of Working Time Regulations.

During the 46-minute webinar, Natalie discussed farmers’ legal obligations, including workers’ rest breaks and holiday pay, which fall into sharper focus during harvest.

With overtime costs often liable to escalate over the course of the harvest period, Natalie also offered practical advice on how farmers can minimise their wage bill, particularly those operating under the Agricultural Wages Order (AWO).

Joining Natalie on the panel of experts was Tom Brunt, agribusiness consultant and director at property agents Savills, Lisa Oliver, senior manager at Hazlewoods accountants, and Suzie Horne, business editor at Farmers Weekly.

Topics under discussion included advice on ensuring staff use machinery efficiently, the importance of health and safety during the harvest period, and how farmers can make best use of capital allowances.

New registrants are continuing to sign up to watch the webinar on demand (click here for more information). The webinar can also be downloaded in either high and low resolution.

To discuss any of the issues raised by Natalie during the webinar, please email her on or call 0117 930 9523. Alternatively, please visit the Employment and Immigration section of Thrings’ website.

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