How to use piece rates – Wine Award

Understand how piecework rates work in the wine industry.

If you’re covered by the Horticulture Award, go to How to use piece rates.

On this page:

How to use piecework rates

An employer and an employee may enter into an agreement for the employee to be paid a piecework rate. This applies to full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Under the Wine Award, the agreed piecework rate has to allow an employee of average capacity to earn at least 20% more per hour than the relevant minimum hourly rate in the award.

A similar range of factors will usually be considered in identifying the employee of average capacity for the Wine Award as the factors listed above for the Horticulture Award.

As with the Horticulture Award, there has to be a separate piecework agreement for each individual employee being paid a piecework rate. A piecework rate is based on individual effort only, not group effort. A grower has to be able to determine each individual employee’s output. This can be tracked using our free Record My Hours app.

To check all piecework provisions, go to the Wine Award.

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Piecework agreements

An employee and employer may enter into a written piecework agreement to be paid a piecework rate under the Wine Award.

What must be included 

A piecework agreement under the Wine Award has to:

  • name the parties (that is, employer and employee)  to the agreement
  • be signed by the employer and the employee (and their parent or guardian if the employee is under 18)
  • include the agreed piecework rate and explain that the piecework rate will be paid instead of the minimum wages under the Wine Award
  • set out the clauses of the Wine Award that don't apply while on a piecework rate (being the ordinary hours of work and rostering, meal allowance, overtime and penalty rates clauses)
  • state the date the piecework agreement commences
  • be genuinely made without pressuring the employee

Piecework rates:

  • must be set at the time a piecework agreement is made
  • should be reviewed to ensure that the rate allows an employee of average capacity to earn at least 20% more than the relevant minimum hourly rate in the award.

Giving a copy of the agreement

A proposed piecework agreement must be provided to an employee. If the employee’s understanding of written English is limited, an employer has to take steps to ensure the employee understands it.

Employers need to give the employee a copy of the piecework agreement. They also need to keep a copy for their own time and wages records.

A piecework agreement must be made before work starts under the agreement.

To create an agreement and see what should be included in one, use our Piecework agreement template – Wine industry (DOCX) (PDF).

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Entitlements that don't apply to pieceworkers

Under the Wine Award, the following entitlements don’t apply to pieceworkers:

  • ordinary hours of work and rostering arrangements
  • meal allowance
  • overtime.

Check the full list of provisions that do and don’t apply in the Wine Award.

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Rules and practices for piecework rates

Follow these rules if your workplace uses piecework rates under the Wine Award:

  • When an employer uses piecework rates to pay their employees, they should be able to demonstrate how they calculated their piece rates.
  • Piecework rates must be set before a piecework agreement is made.
  • A piecework agreement must be made and provided to the employee before work starts.
  • Piecework rates must also be reviewed regularly.

Find out more about how to do this on our Keeping the right records page.

These are practices that employers should avoid:

  • Don’t ask workers to overload buckets or bins.
  • Don’t ask workers to pick bad produce for free.
  • Don’t apply group rates, where a group of workers is paid at a combined rate.

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