• Horses
  • Horses for Loan
  • Horseboxes
  • Tack
  • Services
  • Horses Wanted
  • Equestrian Jobs
  • 4x4s
  • Properties
  • Stallions at Stud
  • More

The Change Is Too Slow

A recent survey, conducted by the British Grooms Association (BGA), revealed that whilst there have been some positive improvements to the employment conditions of those working with horses, there is still work to be done in order to ensure that the industry is compliant.

As the Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) launches its annual Good Employment Week, these results come as a reminder that we are not yet an industry of good employment and that change is not happening quickly enough.

The ‘Groom’s Survey’, which saw over 1,000 responses, highlighted many key points, including;

  • 58% are still not paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW)
  • 61% are not paid overtime or get time off in lieu
  • 33% work a six day week
  • 13% work a seven day week
  • Only 21% of respondents receive their full annual holiday entitlement

"Whilst the research shows that aspects of employment are improving within our industry, I think it is quite unthinkable that in 2020 many employers are still choosing to ignore the law. Employing your team correctly is not a choice. Employers who need support should contact the EEA to get the help and advice they need, in order to comply with legal requirements and help abolish illegal employment."

Tullis Matson, President of the EEA

The report shows a positive improvement in the number of employed grooms who now have a written statement of employment particulars (contract) with this having risen from 53% in 2019* to 61%, while 83% of employed grooms now get paid holiday, compared to 66% in 2019.

However, the survey worryingly highlighted that those labelled as a ‘working pupil’ are being exploited, with;

  • 69% having no written contract or issued pay slips
  • 74% not being paid the NMW
  • 75% working more than nine hours a day
  • 32% receiving their training
  • Only 10% getting breaks during the day

This is especially worrying as 50% of working pupil respondents are under 18.

The EEA reminds employers that although the term ‘Working Pupil’ may be used to describe a position, the individual is still classed as an employee and must have all the same employment rights.

Good Employment Week takes place from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd November. For more information and business support go to equestrianemployers.org.uk.