How to get a harvest job

The Big Victorian Harvest needs workers of all ages and skillsets. Jobs include:

  • fruit picking in the field
  • preparing and packing the fruit in sheds to get it ready for distribution
  • pruning and thinning fruit trees
  • driving tractors, forklifts and other machinery.

Most jobs required skills that can be learnt on the job. Some jobs require training, skills or licences – like driving, for example. Check what’s needed before you apply.

The work is rewarding but it can be physically demanding. Some jobs may require heavy lifting, bending, climbing ladders and operating machinery. The work is often outdoors.

Plus, you could get a $2,430 bonus for taking up a harvest job this season. Find out about the Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus.

Find a harvest job now

Ready to apply? Head to Working for Victoria, the government’s online job-matching platform to register for jobs and training.

Working for Victoria

Find the right job for you

Step 1: Do your research

Before applying for a job, read about the produce, harvest process, industry and where it’s located.

Search for information on horticulture industry websites and local government websites.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Working the harvest trail page has tips for job seekers and an employment checklist.

Ensure the job and employer are reputable before you apply.

Jobs are often listed by labour hire companies, which source workers for farmers. In Victoria, you can check if the company is a licensed labour hire provider on the Labour Hire Authority website.

Find out more about pay rates and the $2,430 Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus for eligible workers who take up a harvest job.

Step 2: Enrol in some free training

Get job-ready by doing some training. Most of the training is quick and simple.

Being able to show on your job application that you’ve done some relevant training helps employers find the most suitable people for the work.

Information about free training opportunities is available on the Training for harvest work page.

Step 3: Download the Record My Hours app

The Record My Hours app can record your work hours. It can also help track the amount you pick, pack or prune (your piece) during a shift.

Find jobs now

Register on Working for Victoria

Lots of harvest jobs are advertised on the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria site, which connects jobseekers to work across the state.

Register with Working for Victoria to find harvest jobs.

You can also find farm jobs by:

Always make sure you do your research when you see a job advertised – see our tips in Step 1.

Get an extra $2,430 on top of your pay

Join the Big Victorian Harvest and you could receive a bonus of up to $2,430 for eight week’s work on a farm – on top of your wage.

Eligible workers can get their first bonus of $810 after just 10 days of work.

Find out if you’re eligible

Pay and your work rights

Most seasonal horticulture workers are hired under the Australian Government’s Horticulture Award. The award outlines minimum pay rates and other entitlements like leave and overtime.

The award also covers workers hired through labour hire providers.

Workers can earn an hourly wage or a piecework rate.

Hourly rates

Under the Horticulture Award, you should expect to be paid at least:

  • $19.84 for an adult full-time employee
  • $24.80 for an adult casual employee.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman pay calculator for more information.

Piece rates

A piecework rate is where a worker earns money based on the amount they have picked, packed, pruned or made.

Instead of the hours worked, an employer pays the worker for the number of kilograms or bins of produce they pick.

Growers can’t ask workers to overload buckets or pick bad produce for free.

The piecework rate has to allow the ‘average competent employee’ to earn at least 15 per cent more per hour than the relevant minimum hourly rate in the Horticulture Award at the time the piecework agreement is entered into.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s How to use piecework agreements page for more information.

Find out where and when harvest is

Victoria's regions need workers at different times. Harvest workers often work on a number of farms during the season, following the harvest around the state.

Use the map and table below to plan where you could work this harvest season.

Map of Victoria showing harvest locations and dates as detailed in the table that follows

Industry

Region

Harvest season

Citrus

Sunraysia, Swan Hill

May – September

Berries

Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula

November – April

Cherries

North East Victoria, Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley, Dandenongs, Sunraysia

November – January

Vegetables

Sunraysia, Werribee, East and West Gippsland

October – March

Summer fruit

Swan Hill, Goulburn Valley

November – May

Apples and pears

Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley

January – May

Table grapes

Sunraysia, Swan Hill

January – May

Dried fruit

Sunraysia

January – April

Melons

Sunraysia

December – April

Grains

Grain growing regions – harvest commencing in north and moving south

October – December

Shearing

Largest sheep population in a band from Warrnambool to Wodonga

Peak: September – December

Call the Jobs Victoria hotline

Would you like assistance finding a seasonal job? Call the Jobs Victoria hotline on 1300 208 575.

The Jobs Victoria team can assist with more information about seasonal work, including the Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus, pay rates and signing up to the government’s job-matching platform, Working for Victoria.

Call the Jobs Victoria hotline

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Page last updated: 26 Feb 2021