Relief services on hand to cut costs
Not-for-profit organisations provide an alternative and cheaper route for employers worried by high employee tax and pay rates
Over the past few weeks we have outlined the raft of responsibilities that farmers face when they take on an employee. From minimum wage rates and contracts of employment, to filing tax returns and fulfilling pension obligations, hiring staff is something that farmers should think long and hard about before they commit to bringing someone on board.
In addition to the legal obligations, the taxes that now apply to an employee are quite significant.
Take a look at the example in the table (pictured), where an employee is paid €10/hr for a 50-hour week, on a fortnightly basis.
There is an alternative to this scenario for a farmer. The not-for-profit Farm Relief Services co-op (FRS) provides a full range of farm workers, from tractor drivers to milkers.
Because the operators are all individual contractors, FRS is able to provide the same amount/level of labour used in the example for a cost of just €1,180. That's a saving of more than €110 every two weeks, or €2,860 a year, according to FRS chief executive Peter Byrne.
"There's a lot of good reasons why farmers are turning to us for their labour requirements," said Mr Byrne.
"Apart from actually working out cheaper in a lot of cases than what the farmer is paying an employee, all our operators are fully insured. This means that employers and public liability are covered, so that if, say, antibiotics get into the bulk tank or a tractor gets damaged, our insurance policy will cover whatever the farmer is out of pocket for."
The other advantage that farm relief staff have is that they are fully tax deductible. In an era when the black economy is on the rise once again, this is a big advantage for the farmer, who otherwise is forced to pay the employee out of his after-tax earnings. This can add another 50pc onto the actual cost of your labour bill.