Your rights - Seasonal workers scheme
Your rights as a worker are protected by UK law.
Some rights apply as soon as you get a job, others depend on how long you work. This page sets out what you should expect from your employer. These are your legal rights.
About the GLAA
Our role is to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. We investigate illegal activity and abuse in the UK labour market, including forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery offences in England and Wales.
Through the GLAA licensing scheme we regulate businesses that supply labour to the agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food/drink processing and packaging sectors.
Labour providers in these sectors need a GLAA licence and must comply with our standards, which cover pay, breaks, transport, accommodation, health and safety, tax and VAT (Value Added Tax) regulations.
It is a criminal offence to operate without a licence or use an unlicensed labour provider.
We work with partner organisations such as the police and government agencies to tackle exploitation and target serious and organised crime.
You should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or the Agricultural Minimum Wage. Find the latest minimum wage and living wage rates on GOV.UK
Your employer can only make certain deductions from your wages and they must be listed on your pay slip.
You should always receive the ‘net amount’ shown after deductions. Some deductions are statutory, like tax and National Insurance, others you may have agreed to, such as accommodation or transport charges.
Some deductions in contracts may not be legal. Even deductions you have agreed to must not take your pay below the minimum wage, with the exception of a few circumstances. If you are not sure, please contact us.
An itemised pay slip
You should receive a pay slip on the day you are paid, which shows your gross pay and your net (take home) pay. It should show the amount and reason for any deductions taken from your pay. Deductions that change each time you're paid, such as tax and National Insurance, should be listed on each payslip. You should receive your agreed pay on time, including any holiday or sick pay due to you.
Your rights are the same as other workers in the UK.
Hours of work and rest breaks
You should not have to work more than 48 hours a week, including any overtime, unless you have chosen to do so.
You are entitled to at least one day off per week, or two days every two weeks. If you work for more than six hours a day, you should have a rest break of at least 20 minutes.
You are entitled by law to a minimum number of weeks of paid holiday a year, starting from your first day at work. This includes part time, zero hours and fixed term contract workers.
The amount of holiday you get depends on the days or hours you work. It is based on your normal working hours (pro rata for part-time workers), accrued during the time you work for your employer and should be paid at your normal working rate.
When you leave your job, any holiday you are owed should be paid to you. If your employer will not allow you to take any holiday or you are owed holiday pay, you can contact the Acas Helpline or Citizens Advice for guidance on claiming the money back. Find out more about 'pay and work rights’ at www.gov.uk.
Your contract should state what payment you will receive if you are ill and cannot work. The minimum amount you are entitled to in the UK is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This applies when you are away from work for four days or more in a row. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid SSP for all the days you’re off sick that you normally would have worked, except for the first 3. Your contract may give you additional pay or benefits in other circumstances.
Find out more on GOV.UK
Contract of employment
This is an agreement between you and your employer. By law, within 2 months of starting work you must be provided with a written statement from your employer which details your terms and conditions. This has important information about your job including who is employing you, your rate of pay, your working hours and holiday days, the location of your work and how to get help in cases of labour abuse or exploitation.
Health and Safety
Your employer has a legal responsibility for your health and safety at work. You should receive free health and safety information, training, and protective clothing or equipment. If you have any concerns, contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
You should not be discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status, or sexual orientation. Contact the Equality Advisory & Support Service for guidance and advice about discrimination.
Trade union membership
You have a legal right to join a trade union whilst in the UK, which is an organisation that protects workers’ rights and provides support and legal services.
It is against the law for a company to charge a worker a fee for finding them work. If your operating company offers you services which you would like to pay for you may do so, but providing you with work must not be conditional on you taking up these services.
Where you stay should be in good condition, not overcrowded, with safe, adequate kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities.
The annual gas safety check must be visible to all occupants. Electrical equipment, including wiring and appliances, must be safe and properly maintained.
You have the right to keep your passport and other identity papers. It is against the law for your employer or operating company to keep your identity papers from you.
Change of employer
You have the right to request to change employer. You should make this request to your operating company.
The UK has a National Health Service (NHS). You can access medical care from a GP practice or hospital in an emergency. Other medical services may be chargeable and must be covered by your health insurance policy. Please check the details of your policy carefully to understand your coverage whilst in the UK.
For information visit www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-entitlements-migrant-health-guide. You can call NHS Direct, the 24 hour health helpline, by telephoning 111.
Access to healthcare on the Seasonal Worker visa
Migrant workers on the Seasonal Worker visa can access healthcare free of charge from the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland.
Workers should register as an NHS patient with a family doctor – a General Practitioner (GP) - and will not have to pay for this. The GP will help those on the SWV access any healthcare they may need and can arrange an interpreter to facilitate engagement. At point of registration the GP may ask for some documents to prove an individual is in work, this could include proof of visa, a work contract or wage slip. If the GP prescribes medication to a worker this is free to access from a pharmacy in Scotland.
Once registered most healthcare excluding dental treatment or eye care is free to workers this includes primary care, secondary care and emergency care. All services that are free to Scottish citizens are also free to workers on the SWV in Scotland.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Migrant workers on the Seasonal Worker visa can access primary healthcare, usually with a family doctor, and emergency healthcare, usually through the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital, on the National Health Service (NHS) free of charge.
Workers should register with a family doctor – General Practitioner (GP) – in order to access NHS services. No proof of status is required to access this, nor is an address required. In England only, if a GP prescribes medication to a worker there is a flat charge of £9.65 per item when medicine is accessed from a pharmacy. Prescriptions accessed from a GP in Wales or Northern Ireland and collected from a pharmacy in Wales or Northern Ireland are free of charge.
Emergency care, family planning, treatment via the Mental Health Act 1983, and treatment for some communicable diseases (eg HIV, TB, COVID 19 diagnosis and treatment) can also be accessed free of charge at hospitals.
If a worker on the Seasonal Worker visa requires secondary care, which includes treatment in a hospital usually with referral from a GP, this is usually not free, and a worker may need travel insurance to cover these costs.
Short-term visitors from the EU can continue to access medically necessary healthcare through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme. The EHIC covers workers for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, provided the reason for the visit to the UK is not specifically to give birth or receive treatment.
Using your mobile phone
You may wish to buy a UK sim card so you can use your phone at the national rate. These are available from many shops on the high street.
Transferring money home
If you want to send money from your wages home, you can use your bank or building society, or an online or high street money transfer firm such as Western Union, TransferWise or MoneyGram (in post offices). Fees will vary depending on the amount you send and the service you use. Find out more at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-send-money-overseas.
Human trafficking, forced labour, slavery and servitude are crimes in the UK. with serious punishment. In order to be aware of forced labour and human trafficking for labour exploitation in your work the following indicators can guide you: workers experiencing threats or physical harm to themselves or their family members; restriction of worker’s movement; debt bondage - where a worker is forced to work off a very high debt compared to the original payment; withholding of wages or excessive wage reductions; retention of passports and identity documents; threat of reporting the workers to authorities in relation to suggested immigration offences.
Help and support
There are many organisations who can give you advice and support if you need help when you are in the UK.
Emergency services - Police, ambulance or fire and rescue
Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline - Information and support
Telephone: 08000 121 700 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit - Charity providing legal representation to victims of trafficking and labour exploitation.
Telephone: 020 7700 7311
ACAS - Free and confidential advice on employment rights.
Telephone: 0300 123 1100 (Monday to Friday, 8am - 6pm)
www.acas.org.uk. Translation service available.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Guidance for workers
Telephone: 0300 003 1647 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5pm)
Equality Advisory & Support Service (EASS) - Advice on equality, discrimination and human rights
Telephone: 0808 800 0082
Trade Unions Congress (TUC) - Umbrella organisation for Britain’s trade unions, who represent workers
Telephone: 020 7636 4030
Information on employment rights in multiple languages.
We work to help vulnerable and exploited workers and act swiftly to prevent exploitation. You can contact us anonymously and in confidence.
GLAA, PO Box 10272, Nottingham, NG2 9PB