13 Aug 2021

Growing the workforce - Vegetable producer offers bonus for turning up to work

From Country Life, 9:20 pm on 13 August 2021

One of New Zealand's largest vegetable growers is paying people a bonus for turning up to work.

Gisborne-based LeaderBrand has rolled out a raft of benefits in order to secure a workforce.

"I think our job now is to make it easy for people to come to work," says LeaderBrand chief executive Richard Burke.

Richard Burke, LeaderBrand

Richard Burke, LeaderBrand Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

LeaderBrand employs 400 people across New Zealand and another 150 during seasonal peaks.

"The risk of not having labour is a real risk to our business," Richard says.

"We have opportunities in every part of our business and in every location. It's been like that for the past three to four years and it's getting tougher."

Richard says the drivers for today's workforce have changed.

"It's not just about the money anymore...They're looking for lifestyle.

"We've had to adapt and sort ourselves out and try and connect with what these guys are looking for now."

He says LeaderBrand provides lunch on most days and transport to and from work.

"We're certainly supplying a lot of gear now ... gear to keep people warm, gear to keep people dry.

"We're doing things like birthday leave - like take a day off on your birthday."

There is also a bonus of one or two dollars an hour for some seasonal jobs. The base hourly rate for work in most locations in the field or on the factory floor is about $24 or $25, Richard says.

"Interesting that you get a bonus for turning up aye? But we start early and that's not for everyone.

"It's hard to run a business when people don't turn up the next day because all of the planning goes out the window. And it seems really weird that you are paying people to turn up but at the end of the day we are trying to encourage the commitment... I guess."