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

Consultation opened on 13 May 2021. Closing date 08 July 2021.


The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published a consultation setting out a proposal by the Agriculture Minister to revoke the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977, which would abolish the Agricultural Wages Board in Northern Ireland, subject to agreement by the NI Executive and passage through the Assembly.

The wider consultation on the policy proposal will close on 8 July 2021. Comments on the Draft Equality Impact Assessment will be welcomed until 5 August 2021, in line with the DAERA Equality Scheme. Full details of how to respond are available in the consultation and EQIA documents.

A link to the consultation documents, responses and outcome report is available below.


Consultation description

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.

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 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.

Copies of the consultation can also be made available, on request, in alternative formats e.g. in large print, Braille disc, audio cassette and other languages.  Further information may be obtained by calling 028 9052 4613 or by emailing

For those with hearing difficulties, leave a message on the Department’s text phone (18001 028 9052 5031).

For more information on how we collect, share and store this information please see the DAERA Privacy Statement.

A summary and analysis of the responses to the consultation can be viewed here.

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