Seasonal harvest sign-on bonus guidelines

Apply for the Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus

If you’ve started in a seasonal harvest job in Victoria since 17 February 2021, you could be eligible for the bonus.

Before you apply, please make sure you have:

  • read these Program Guidelines to check that you’re eligible
  • completed 10 days’ work in a seasonal harvest job
  • evidence of your employment and hours worked (payslip and timesheet or other record).

If you aren’t ready to apply now, keep reading to find out more.

Apply now

Program summary

The $10.5 million Seasonal Harvest Sign-On Bonus Program commenced on 17 February 2021 and aims to attract job seekers to work on Victorian horticulture farms during this year’s harvest through a ‘sign-on bonus’ payment for new workers.

The sign-on bonus payment helps to address the seasonal labour shortage by incentivising new workers to enter the industry and encouraging others back into seasonal horticulture work.

The total sign-on bonus payment is $2,430 per worker for a minimum of 40 days of work, which will be provided in two instalments.

Applicants must be new to working in agriculture or returning to work in agriculture after a three-month break. Days of work must be undertaken on or after 17 February 2021.

The program will close on 31 October 2021 or earlier if funds are exhausted. After undertaking 10 days of work, eligible workers can apply for the first instalment of $810. To apply for the remainder $1,620, eligible workers must undertake, and submit evidence of having undertaken, an additional 30 days of work within 90 days of the first instalment being approved.

A download of these guidelines is also available: Seasonal Harvest Sign-On Bonus Program Guidelines (PDF - 310.3 KB)

Details

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To be eligible for the program you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be 18 years or older with the right to work in Australia
  • work in eligible Victorian horticulture industries such as fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, olives, nuts, hops and wine grapes (nurseries, turf, cut-flowers are not eligible industries)
  • start work on a farm located in Victoria on or after 17 February 2021
  • work on-farm in picking, packing and harvesting of seasonal produce. Duties may include operating harvest machinery
  • not have worked on-farm in Victoria’s agriculture sectors (dairy, livestock, grains and horticulture) in the three months prior to the day you started the work that is the subject of your bonus application
  • not be employed through the Seasonal Worker Programme or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • hold one of the following valid personal identification:
    • – Medicare card
    • – Driver licence
    • – Australian passport
    • – a foreign passport for those issued with an Australian Visa.

To be eligible for the first $810 instalment, you must:

  • have undertaken at least 10 separate days of work within a consecutive 30-day period and started work or returned to working in agriculture after a three-month break on or after 17 February 2021

To be eligible for the remainder $1620 of the bonus you must:

  • be registered with the Program and have received the first instalment
  • have undertaken a further 30 separate days of work and apply for the remainder of the bonus within 90 days of your first instalment being approved.

In addition to the eligibility criteria, the following also applies:

  • Days of work must be undertaken on or after 17 February 2021.
  • Days of work do not have to be completed at a single Victorian horticultural farm location.
  • People holding a current Australian Visa with working rights, such as working holiday makers, may be eligible for the bonus.
  • An applicant can receive the sign-on bonus payment only once over the life of the program.

To receive the sign-on bonus payment you must apply for the Program via the online portal.

  • If you are assessed as being eligible under the program, you will receive email notification that you are registered.
  • You may apply for a Sign-on Bonus payment after you have undertaken the qualifying number of 10 work days, and provided the required information and evidence.

An applicant can receive two instalments totalling $2,430 per worker.

Payment

Days of work required

Amount

First instalment

Undertake 10 days of work within a consecutive 30-day period

Submit your application as soon as possible.

The program will close on 31 October 2021 or earlier if funds are exhausted.

$810

Remainder

Undertake a further 30 separate days of work and apply for the remainder of the bonus within 90 days of your first instalment being approved.

$1,620

A day of work is made up of a shift completed on one calendar day, as determined by your employer. We understand that shift times vary, and that workers are sometimes sent home before the end of their allocated shift time due to safety, weather or changes in the labour needs on any given day.

The Seasonal Harvest Sign-on Bonus commenced on 17 February 2021 and will conclude on 31 October 2021 or earlier if funds are exhausted.

The following evidence is mandatory to apply for the bonus payments:

  • Evidence which confirms your start date with the employer(s) named in this application. This may include:
    • – Your contract of employment
    • – A Letter of Offer from your employer which includes your start date
    • – A letter or email from your employer which includes the terms and dates of your employment
    • – A request from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (the department) to contact your employer directly to confirm the terms and dates of your employment
  • Payslips, which are required by law to list:
    • – Your full name
    • – The name and Australian Business Number (ABN) of the payer (e.g. your employer or labour hire service provider), and their contact details
    • – The period for which the relevant pay relates to, including dates and times
    • – Pay details – including gross and net pay, pay rate, and any loadings, allowances and other payments, rates or entitlements
    • – Any deductions from your pay
    • – Any contributions paid for your benefit (e.g. superannuation).

You will also need to provide:

  • Evidence which confirms the separate days you have worked. If your payslip does not show the days worked you may submit: employer approved timesheets, a letter from your employer including terms and dates of employment or a piece work agreement. Records exported from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app can be submitted.
  • The addresses of the farm sites where you have worked and for which you are being paid.

Photographs of these items are acceptable if you don’t have an electronic copy.

Before you apply

Read these guidelines to confirm that:

  • you are eligible to apply, including that you are new to agriculture or returning to Victorian agriculture after a three-month break and worked the equivalent of 10 days within a 30-day period to apply for your first instalment
  • you started the employment period for this application on or after 17 February 2021

and:

  • you have valid proof of identification
  • you have evidence of your start date or requested for the department to contact your employer to confirm the terms and dates of your employment
  • make sure you keep electronic versions of payslips and other evidence of the days you work and who you work for. Evidence can include timesheets or records exported from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app.

To apply for the program and the first instalment

  • Apply via the online portal.
  • You are required to submit your evidence electronically. Photographs are acceptable.

You will need to:

  • submit evidence to confirm your identity
  • declare on your application that you meet the eligibility criteria
  • have completed 10 days of work within a 30-day period
  • submit evidence for work completed on or after 17 February 2021.

You will need

  • Evidence which confirms your commencement date with the employer/s named in the application. This may include:
    • – Your contract of employment
    • – A Letter of Offer from your employer which includes your start date
    • – A letter or email from your employer which includes the terms and dates of your employment
    • – A request for the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions’ (the department) to contact your employer directly to confirm the terms and dates of your employment.
  • Payslips, for evidence of employment which are required by law to list:
    • – Your full name and the name of your employer
    • – The name and Australian Business Number (ABN) of the payer (e.g. your employer or labour hire service provider), and their contact details
    • – The period for which the relevant pay relates to, including dates and times
    • – Pay details – including gross and net pay, pay rate, and any loadings, allowances and other payments, rates or entitlements
    • – Any deductions from your pay
    • – Any contributions paid for your benefit (e.g. superannuation)
  • If your payslip does not show separate days worked you will require other evidence to support your application, e.g. employer approved timesheets, a letter of offer from your employer including terms of employment, a written piece work agreement. Records exported from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Record My Hours app can be submitted.
  • Address/s of the farm sites where you have worked.

To apply for the remainder

  • Undertake a further 30 separate days of work and apply for the remainder of the bonus within 90 days of your first instalment being approved.
  • After you receive notification of your first instalment being approved, you will receive an email from the department with instructions on how to claim the remainder of the bonus. It will include a unique link to your application form.
  • You must submit this form using your unique link within 90 days of your first instalment being approved.

You will need

  • Payslips, for evidence of employment which are required by law to list:
    • – Your full name and the name of your employer
    • – The name and Australian Business Number (ABN) of the payer (e.g. your employer or labour hire service provider), and their contact details
    • – The period for which the relevant pay relates to, including dates and times
    • – Pay details – including gross and net pay, pay rate, and any loadings, allowances and other payments, rates or entitlements
    • – Any deductions from your pay
    • – Any contributions paid for your benefit (e.g superannuation)
  • If your payslip does not show separate days worked you will require other evidence to support your application, e.g. employer approved timesheets, a letter of offer from your employer including terms of employment, a written piece work agreement. Records exported from Fair Work’s Record My Hours app can be submitted.
  • Submit evidence for your additional 30 days of work completed within 90 days of your first claim being approved.
  • Provide address/s of the farm sites where you have worked.

  • The application is non-transferable.
  • Applicants must declare on their application form that they meet the eligibility criteria and they have not supplied false or misleading information.
  • All information and documents requested in support of an application must be submitted to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions’ (the department) satisfaction for an application to be deemed eligible and approved.
  • Applicants understand that the particulars of their application will be checked as part of the eligibility assessment and application process and their application may be declined and not proceed based on these checks.
  • Applicants consent to the department providing necessary information to other government agencies (State and Federal) and to their relevant employer/s if needed to enable the assessment of their application.
  • Applicants must provide the details of an Australian bank account in their own name if their application is successful.
  • Bonus payments will be made within 10 working days, subject to the submission of an approved application.
  • The department may at any time, remove an applicant from the Application process, if in the department’s opinion association with the applicant may bring the department, a Minister or the State of Victoria into disrepute.
  • Successful applicants will be invited to undertake a voluntary survey of the Seasonal Harvest Sign-On Bonus program.

  • Any information or documents provided by the applicants may be subject to audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives and if requested, applicants may be required to produce further evidence.
  • As part of assessment of an application and routine program checks, the department may contact your employers and validate the information in the application.
  • If any information provided by applicants is found to be incomplete, inaccurate, false or misleading, then registration and/or applications may not be approved, and any amounts paid to an applicant will be repayable on demand.

  • The department reserves the right to amend these guidelines and application terms at any time as it deems appropriate.
  • The department’s decisions on all matters pertaining to the award of a payment under this Program is at the department’s absolute discretion.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to consider any implications of this payment on other government welfare assistance (such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker or other Centrelink payments) or tax implications of funding.

For further information on the Program or for general assistance to register or apply please contact the Jobs Victoria hotline on 1300 208 575.

  • Find out more about harvest jobs and training.
  • Call the Jobs Victoria hotline on 1300 208 575 for assistance with this application, finding work, including how to sign-up to the jobs matching platform, Working for Victoria.
  • 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 rate

The minimum hourly rate under the Horticulture Award is:

  • $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 piece 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.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Horticulture Showcase page for more information.

Extra government assistance is available

  • Relocation rebates of up to $6000 for eligible workers (up to $2000 for international jobseekers) who move to regional areas for at least six weeks.
  • Greater access to Youth Allowance. Earn $15,000 in agriculture between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 to be considered independent.
  • Free Victorian Government-funded training programs to get jobseekers ready for work.

In order to assess your application for the sign-on bonus program, the department is collecting personal information from you to assess your eligibility, to administer the reimbursement, and to contact you about your application and to review and evaluate the program.

In the assessment of your registration, it may be necessary to share your personal information with other government agencies (State and Federal). If you have previously provided personal information to the department, we may use this personal information to substantiate the personal information you have provided in this program.

Any personal information collected, held, managed, used, disclosed or transferred will be held in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and other applicable laws. The department is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information.

The department’s Privacy Policy can be found online. You can gain access to personal information (as defined in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014) that the department holds about you in certain circumstances specified by legislation.

Enquiries about access to information should be directed to the Department’s Privacy Unit by emailing privacy@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 15 Jul 2021