The Change is Too Slow

Posted on 16th November 2020

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, with 13% working a seven day week and only 21% of respondents receive their full annual holiday entitlement.

Tullis Matson, President of the EEA said, “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.”

The report shows a positive improvement in number of employed grooms who now have a written statement of employment particulars (contract) has 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% not having a written contract or issued pay slips, 74% are not paid the NMW, 75% work more than nine hours a day, 32% receive their training and only 10% get breaks during the day. This is especially worry 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

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