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Information for Horticulture and Ornamental Employers


Is there specific guidance for the horticulture sector?

Yes, guidance for horticulture, fruit & vegetable sector is available here


I have seasonal staff flying into the UK, will they be required to self-isolate?

Seasonal agricultural workers are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days provided: 

  • The seasonal agricultural worker has an offer of employment for seasonal work on a named farm,
  • They will be employed to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture.

Workers will be able to start work immediately but they must self-isolate on the farm. However, workers may mix with fellow workers. Workers will still be required to complete a ‘contact locator form’.

More information:

  • Guidance from the UK Government about exempt travellers is available here.


Is there a letter I can use to highlight seasonal workers’ exemption from the international travel restrictions?

For seasonal worker with an offer of employment on a named farm and who will be employed to conduct specific activity in edible horticulture, they will be able to start work immediately, and required to self-isolate on the named farm.

A template letter is available here which can be used as evidence to show exemption from Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.


I am a horticulture/ornamentals grower and have a large number of staff, what should I do?

The Scottish Government has clarified the following seven guidance principles for employers of seasonal staff:

  1. It is the responsibility of the companies and the growers concerned that they must be able to demonstrate that they can operate safely and that the safety and wellbeing of their workforce is of paramount importance.
  2. The companies and the growers concerned must be able to ensure and demonstrate that they can work in a way which is fully consistent with established social distancing advice.  If they cannot, growers must cease operations.
  3. The companies and growers concerned must ensure that their members/staff/contractors etc. are fully briefed on safe working/social distancing practices and that they are supervised to ensure these are adhered to.  
  4. The companies and growers concerned must also undertake to monitor the latest advice from the Scottish Government’s Chief Medical Officer and/or the First Minister of Scotland, and make the necessary changes to their business operation as required, should this advice change.
  5. The companies and growers, where they are able, should also endeavour to demonstrate to their customers, the public that their operations are fully compliant with safe working/social distancing procedures, through use of their website (should they have one).
  6. The Scottish Government will work with NFU Scotland to produce further standard, safe working procedures. Individual companies can be provided with tailored advice from Scottish Government if needed. 
  7. The Scottish Government is engaging Police Scotland and relevant Local Authorities to ensure a consistent approach is taken across Scotland.


What good practice measures can I implement?

Guidance from the Scottish Government about distancing guidance is available here. In addition, good practice for employers includes:

  • Regularly review whether your work is essential and requires staff or actioning; it may be possible to delay certain jobs by a few weeks,
  • Understand the correct procedure to manage staff who go into self-isolation and potential implications for sick pay,
  • Make sure you, and any managers you may have, know how to spot the symptoms of COVID-19 and know the relevant process in dealing with this, 
  • Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date,
  • Consider if any travel or meetings are necessary and try to arrange remote meetings instead,
  • Minimise the risk of COVID-19 impacting your workforce by: 
    • Keeping everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace, 
    • Consider extra precautions for staff who may more vulnerable to COVID-19, for example if someone is pregnant, aged over 60 or has a long-term health condition,
    • Make sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, encourage all staff to wash their hands regularly for more than 20 seconds and provide hand sanitiser for staff and encourage them to use it.
  • Keep up to date with latest coronavirus advice.


I employ EU seasonal workers, what are my responsibilities regarding provision of sick pay?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable to employees who meet the qualifying criteria. This includes EU Seasonal workers from the first day of employment. SSP guidance for employers is available here.

Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP) is payable to agricultural workers who have been continuously employed for 52 weeks with the same employer. The Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order (No. 67) is available here.


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