In cases where seasonal workers are employed for the same length of time and under the same conditions of employment, ‘group contracts’ are sometimes entered into in agriculture. In these cases, there needs to be documented proof that the contracts have been explained to all relevant workers, and a signed attendance register of acknowledgement must be kept on file. Each employee must, over and above the group contract, still receive a copy of their contract, even if it is a shorter version. This ‘shorter version’ must still include all the minimum requirements as stipulated in Sectoral Determination 13 (SD13) Section 9:
i) the full name and address of the employer;
ii) the name and occupation of the agri-worker, or a brief description of the work for which the agri-worker is employed;
iii) the place of work;
iv) the date on which employment began (and in the case of non-permanent workers, when it will end);
v) ordinary hours of work and days of work;
vi) wage or the rate and method of payment;
vii) rate of pay for overtime work;
viii) any other cash payments the worker is entitled to;
ix) any food or accommodation payment the worker is entitled to;
x) any payment in kind received by the worker;
xi) how frequently wages will be paid;
xii) any deductions, both statutory and non-statutory, to be made from the worker’s wages;
xiii) the leave to which the worker is entitled and,
xiv) the period of notice required to terminate employment.
A generic version of the full employment contract must still be displayed in a prominent area of the workplace where workers are able to refer to it.
In cases where employers make use of ‘online’ contracts or an online system of sharing the contract (e.g., WhatsApp, email etc.), the producer must still be able to prove that the employee has received this online copy, either by manner of signature, or receipt. Although this method proves to greatly benefit a sustainable approach and moving away from the use of thousands of pages of paper every year, it should still contain all the information required by law and international labour standards, be explained to the workers, and there should be a signed copy of each employee’s contract (even if it is kept online) as proof that they understand and agree to the terms and conditions.