About Fair FarmsPromoting ethical and fair employment practices in Australian Horticulture
Why Fair Farms
We believe that the majority of horticulture growers and other industry members want to do the right thing by their workers. However, it can be challenging to navigate our complex employment and WHS laws and regulations. As recent reporting by the FWO and others show, the complexity of our system can lead to unintended non-compliance, for example the inadvertent under-payment of staff. This is particularly a risk with the smaller businesses who do not have the expertise of a dedicated human resources team.
Then there are also rogue operators in our industry who purposely exploit workers to reduce labour cost and undercut pricing of the compliant growers. These operators harm workers and put the future of horticulture as one of Australia’s thriving industries at risk.
Fair Farms has been developed by industry for industry to help address these issues proactively. The program will support all members of the Australian horticulture supply chain with the tools, information and training they need to be a compliant and ethical employer. In addition, participants in the program can demonstrate their compliance to their customers, workers and consumers through certification.
Over time, the transparency generated through Fair Farms will help level the playing field and support a sustainable future for our industry.
Fair Farm’s key objective is to lift employment practices across the Australian horticulture industry and to reduce the risk of workers exploitation. Fair Farms aims to achieve this through:
give growers and other participating businesses the knowledge and tools they need to be a compliant and responsible employer.
provide a mechanism that clearly shows to the market and the community who is committed to fair work practices.
engage with buyers of fresh produce in true partnership whereby buyers make the commitment to source only from those suppliers that have demonstrated their commitment to responsible employment practices.
Thereby, over time, drive those businesses who underpay workers to gain a competitive advantage out of attractive market segments.
1. Online Self-Assessment
The first step is to test how compliant your current employment practices are by completing the Online Self-Assessment (OSA). The OSA is a set of questions benchmarked against the Fair Farms Standard and employment laws that exist in the State or Territory of your business. It should take between 1-2 hours to complete.
It is a requirement for participants of Fair Farms to complete the OSA once every 12 months.
2. Do Training
Fair Farms Training is designed to assist you with fully understanding and meeting your obligations as an employer of people in horticulture. Our training is available through online e-learning, phone consults or face-to-face training sessions. Participants can choose what type of training meets their learning styles and budget.
Your initial training needs are established through your first self-assessment. Once certified, participants are required to complete at least 2 hours of training annually to stay up-to-date with latest regulatory changes and other industry developments relevant for the employment of people.
3. Undergo Audit
Participants seeking Fair Farms certification need to undergo an independent third-party audit and clear any findings. The audit will be conducted by a Fair Farms approved Certification Body and will assess employment practices at all relevant sites
Once the audit is completed you will be issued with a Fair Farms Certificate demonstrating that your business is compliant with the Fair Farms Standard.
Your certificate will state the due-date for the next recertification audit. The recertification cycle is either 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the outcome of your previous audit.
Your investment into employment practices
One of the most important assets of any business is its people. By becoming Fair Farms certified, you are making an investment into your people and therefore into the future success of your business.
The Fair Farms pricing model is driven by the following key considerations:
- keep the program as affordable as possible for participants
- keep pricing simple and transparent
- generate enough income allowing Fair Farms to implement an effective, independent and robust certification scheme that achieves its purpose.
Your Fair Farms related costs are comprised of:
Annual Membership Fee
The Annual membership fee is set at AUD $150 / Controlled Site (excl. GST).
Training Fees will depend on your initial level of compliance with the Fair Farms Standard and on how much training you are required or want to undertake. Following your initial certification, you are expected to complete a minimum of 2 training hours per year to ensure your business remains up-to-date with the latest regulatory changes.
Fair Farms Training is available through online e-learning, phone consults or face-to-face training sessions. Participants can choose what type of training meets their learning styles and budget.
The costs for audit are ultimately set by the Certification Body, however, Fair Farms ensures that these fees remain reasonable. Because of Fair Farms clear audit scope and industry-specific design, Fair Farms audits are up to 50% cheaper than audits for other ethical sourcing programs.