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 aims to attract job seekers to work on Victorian horticulture farms during this year’s harvest through a ‘sign-on bonus’ payment for new and returning 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, which will be provided in two payments. The first payment of $810 will be paid after a worker has completed 10 days of work. A further payment of $1,620 will be paid after the worker has completed an additional 30 days of work.

The program commenced on 17 February 2021 and is open until 30 June 2021 or until program funds are exhausted.

A download of these guidelines is also available: Seasonal Harvest Sign-On Bonus Program Guidelines (PDF - 305.3 KB)

Details

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To be eligible for the first bonus payment you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • have the right to work in Australia
  • be working in eligible Victorian horticulture industries: fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, olives, nuts and wine grapes
  • start work on a farm located in Victoria on or after 17 February 2021
  • be working on-farm in picking, packing, harvesting and related activities of seasonal produce. Duties may include operating harvest machinery
  • have completed at least 10 separate days of work within a consecutive 30-day period to qualify for the first payment under the program
  • 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 employment 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 or Learner Permit
    • – Australian passport
    • – a foreign passport for those issued with an Australian Visa.

To be eligible for the second bonus payment you must:

  • be registered with the Program and have received the first bonus payment
  • continue to be working in eligible Victorian horticulture industries
  • continue to be working on a farm/s located in Victoria, in picking, packing, harvesting or related activities of seasonal produce
  • have completed a further 30 separate days of eligible work within a consecutive 90 day period.

The following also applies:

  • Days of work must be on or after 17 February 2021.
  • Days of work do not have to occur consecutively across the 30-day or 90-day qualifying period. The 30 and 90 day qualifying periods may cover part of the same period.
  • Days of work do not have to be completed at the same Victorian horticultural farm location.
  • People holding a current Australian Visa with working rights, such as working holiday makers, may be eligible for the bonus.
  • Workers must apply for the bonus before 30 June 2021. Bonus payments may be made after this date, subject to these guidelines.
  • An individual worker can receive the sign-on bonus (made up of two separate payments) only once over the life of the program.
  • Nurseries, turf, cut flowers are not eligible industries.
  • Seasonal horticultural work means work that is seasonal in nature in the horticulture sector of the agriculture industry, including activities associated with the picking, packing, harvesting and related activities of seasonal produce including pruning, cartmen, tractor drivers and sweepers. It does not include post farm gate storage, further processing and distribution activities that occur post-production.

A worker must:

  • Obtain the consent of each relevant farm business or labour hire service provider to provide their contact details to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions’ (the department) to verify the worker’s days of work and related information for the purpose of this program.
  • Give consent to each relevant farm business or labour hire service provider to share the Worker’s personal information with the department.

Registered workers can receive two payments totalling $2,430 per worker.

Payment

Days of work required

Application submission

Amount

First payment

Complete 10 days of work within a 30-day period

Submit your application within 40 days of starting work, or by 30 June 2021, whichever is sooner

$810

Second Payment

Complete a further 30 days of work within a 90-day period

Submit your application by 30 June 2021

$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 closes on 30 June 2021.
  • The program is open until 30 June 2021 or until funds are exhausted.

  • To receive the sign-on bonus payment you must apply via the online portal.
  • You may apply for a Sign-on Bonus payment after you have undertaken the qualifying number of work days, and provided the required information and evidence.

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

Payslips, 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.

What needs to be included on your payslip

Find out what needs to be included in your payslip to get the bonus:

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 of offer from your employer including terms 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 register, including that you worked the equivalent of 10 days within a 30-day period to apply for your first payment

and:

  • you have valid proof of identification
  • 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 your first payment

  • 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.

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
  • 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 your second payment

  • Once you have completed a further 30 days of work within a 90-day period you can go to the portal to apply the second payment.

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
  • 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.
  • Address/s of the farm sites where you have worked

  • The Registration is non-transferable.
  • Applicants must certify 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 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 an application receiving approval.
  • 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.
  • 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 government welfare assistance (such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker or other Centrelink payments) or tax implications of funding.
  • Tax implications for grant applicants may differ depending on individual circumstances.  DJPR recommends grant recipients seek independent tax advice, or alternatively liaise with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for advice that are specific to their individual circumstances.  The ATO website also provides guidance in relation to specific grants payments which may be used for tax determination purposes.

  • 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.

If personal information about a third party is included in your application, you are required to ensure that the third party is aware of the contents of this Privacy Statement. In the assessment of your registration, it may be necessary to share your personal information with other government agencies (State and Federal).

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.

Enquiries about access to personal information, or for other concerns regarding the privacy of personal information, can be emailed to the Department’s Privacy Unit at privacy@ecodev.vic.gov.au. The Department’s privacy policy is also available by emailing the Department’s Privacy Unit.

Page last updated: 26 Mar 2021