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Seasonal Agricultural Workers

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why his Department is proposing to change the contracts of employment for seasonal agricultural workers scheme students; when these changes were announced; and when they will take effect. (82027)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: It is the responsibility of the operators to ensure that each student employed on the seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS) has a contract of employment and that it meets the terms and conditions of both the scheme and all appropriate employment legislation. Monitoring activities have found that many students employed on the SAWS are being paid as daily casual workers; a practice which is incompatible with the terms and conditions of the SAWS contract. The contract states that participants are to be offered work for a minimum period of five weeks and a minimum of 40 hours work per week. Officials sent a contract clarification letter to all SAWS operators on 22 June 2006 confirming that SAWS students must not be employed on daily contracts and that employment contracts must be amended accordingly. A working group of Home Office officials and SAWS operator representatives will now address how the operators should be seeking to comply with the requirements and the timescales for doing so.