National Minimum Wage Bill — Repeals and revocations — 9 Mar 1998

Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset voted in the minority (No).

It being after Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),

That, at this day's sitting, the National Minimum Wage Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.-- [Mr. Betts.]

Question agreed to.

As amended (in the Standing Committee), again considered.

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The new clause provides for the suspension of the national minimum wage in the event of national or local economic emergencies. It is, perhaps, rather better drafted than one or two-- [Interruption.]

Question put and negatived.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 29, 31, 36, 37, 30, 32 and 38.

Question put and negatived .

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

It is interesting that we are now making excellent progress, and coming to the end of the new clauses. It is always right to end with a bang not a whimper, and this is an important new clause.

The concerns expressed in new clause 14 may seem some way from those that have just been expressed about agriculture, because the clause provides for something different. It provides for something topical, which I would loosely call seasonal. It imposes a duty on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Some of us like the idea of imposing a duty on him slightly more than that of his doing so on us, as I fear he may do shortly.

The Minister need not feel left out, because the duty is to be performed in consultation with the Secretary of State. It is to include in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report", or Red Book, as we used to call it before it unaccountably changed colour,

9 Mar 1998 : Column 170

Question put and negatived.

I beg to move amendment No. 43, in page 2, line 22, at end insert--

'except that payment by an employer of pension contributions to a recognised pension fund on behalf of an employee shall be treated as part of a person's remuneration for the purposes of this Act.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 21, in page 3, line 9, at end insert--

'(4) If any description of persons who have attained the age of 26 is added by regulations under section 4 below to the descriptions of person to whom this section applies, no provision shall be made under subsection (2) above which treats persons of that description differently in relation to different ages over 26.'.-- [Mr. Betts.]

Amendments made: No. 22, in page 3, line 11, leave out 'further' and insert

'descriptions of persons who have attained the age of 26 to the'.

No. 23, in page 3, line 17, after 'ages' insert 'over 26'.-- [Mr. Betts.]

I beg to move amendment No. 55, in page 3, line 20, after 'regulations', insert

'(or where it seems appropriate to him any subsequent regulations)'.

Amendment negatived.

I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 7, line 28, at end insert--

'(2) Regulations made under this section shall require employers to keep records in respect of--

(a) full-time workers;

(b) part-time workers;

(c) home workers;

(d) agency workers; and

(e) such other classes of worker as may be prescribed

and may impose different requirements in respect of different classes of worker.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

I beg to move amendment No. 13, in page 8, line 41, at end insert

'(as in force when the award is made)'.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move amendment No. 41, in page 11, line 18, at end insert--

'plus two per cent above the prevailing Bank of England base rate.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: No. 14, in page 12, line 12, at end insert

'(and, where it does so, may be so framed as to relate to workers specified in the notice or to workers of a description so specified)'.

No. 15, in page 12, line 17, leave out subsection (6) and insert--

'(6) On an appeal under subsection (4) above, the employment tribunal shall dismiss the appeal unless it is established--

(a) that, in the case of the worker or workers to whom the enforcement notice relates, the facts are such that an officer who was aware of them would have had no reason to serve any enforcement notice on the appellant; or

(b) where the enforcement notice relates to two or more workers, that the facts are such that an officer who was aware of them would have had no reason to include some of the workers in any enforcement notice served on the appellant; or

(c) where the enforcement notice imposes a requirement under subsection (2) above in relation to a worker,--

(i) that no sum was due to the worker under section 15 above; or

(ii) that the amount specified in the notice as the sum due to the worker under that section is incorrect;

and in this subsection any reference to a worker includes a reference to a person whom the enforcement notice purports to treat as a worker.'.

No. 16, in page 12, line 27, after '(b)' insert 'or (c)'.-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

Amendment made: No. 17, in page 13, line 18, after 'wage' insert

'(as in force at the date of the penalty notice)'.-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

Amendments made: No. 18, in page 14, line 7, leave out subsection (3) and insert--

'(3) On an appeal under subsection (1) above, the employment tribunal shall dismiss the appeal unless it is shown--

(a) that, in the case of each of the allegations of failure to comply with the enforcement notice, the facts are such that an officer who was aware of them would have had no reason to serve any penalty notice on the appellant; or

(b) that the penalty notice is incorrect in some of the particulars which affect the amount of the financial penalty; or

(c) that the calculation of the amount of the financial penalty is incorrect;

and for the purposes of any appeal relating to a penalty notice, the enforcement notice in question shall (subject to rescission or rectification on any appeal brought under section 17 above) be taken to be correct.'.

No. 19, in page 14, line 15, after '(b)' insert 'or (c)'.-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

I beg to move amendment No. 5, in page 14, line 37, at end insert

'or

(c) the worker qualifies, or will qualify, for the national minimum wage or for a particular rate of national minimum wage.'.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 6, in page 14, line 38, after 'of' insert

Amendments made: No. 7, in page 16, line 26, at end insert

'or

(c) the employee qualifies, or will qualify, for the national minimum wage or for a particular rate of national minimum wage.'.

No. 8, in page 16, line 27, after 'of' insert

'paragraph (a) or (b) of'.

No. 24, in page 16, line 36, after 'by' insert

'or by virtue of, any provision of'.

No. 25, in page 17, line 15, leave out subsection (5).-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

Amendments made: No. 9, in page 17, line 35, at end insert

I beg to move amendment No. 45, in page 19, line 1, leave out 'any question arises' and insert

'an officer acting for the purposes of this Act makes a declaration, acting on the basis of his enquiries'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 27, in page 20, line 18, at end insert--

'(5A) Where the commission by any person of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) above is due to the act or default of some other person, that other person is also guilty of the offence.

(5B) A person may be charged with and convicted of an offence by virtue of subsection (5A) above whether or not proceedings are taken against any other person.

(5C) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) or (2) above it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that he exercised all due diligence and took all reasonable precautions to secure that the provisions of this Act, and of any relevant regulations made under it, were complied with by himself and by any person under his control.'.-- [Mrs. Roche.]

I beg to move amendment No. 66, in page 22, line 39, at end insert--

'(3) The Secretary of State shall take all reasonable steps to ensure parity of treatment between those persons serving as members of the naval, military and air forces of the Crown and their civilian equivalents, and shall lay before both Houses of Parliament a report explaining the reasons for any disparity of treatment with such civilians.'.

between service men and their civilian counterparts. I hope that the Minister has a good explanation. If he has not, I shall feel inclined to divide the House. It should be borne in mind that I represent Aldershot, the home of the British Army.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment made: No. 20, in page 25, leave out lines 5 to 14.-- [Mr. Betts.]

Amendment made: No. 28, in page 27, leave out lines 8 to 18.-- [Mr. Betts.]

I beg to move amendment No. 69, in page 34, line 27, at end insert--

'Disqualification by Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales

6. A member of the Commission is disqualified from being--

(a) a member of the Scottish Parliament, or

(b) a member of the National Assembly for Wales.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

No. 33, in page 37, line 23, at end insert--

'Information obtained by national minimum wage officers

6B. After section 15 there shall be inserted--

"Information obtained by national minimum wage officers

15A.--(1) This section applies to information which has been obtained by an officer acting for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and which is held by--

(a) the Secretary of State; or

(b) a government department or other body which is party to arrangements in force under section 13(1)(b) of that Act.

(2) This section does not apply to any information to the extent that the information relates to--

(a) any failure to allow holidays directed to be allowed by an order under section 3 of this Act; or

(b) any terms and conditions of employment fixed by such an order by virtue of subsection (1)(c) of that section.

(3) Information to which this section applies may, with the authority of the Secretary of State, be supplied to the relevant Minister for use for any purpose relating to this Act.

(4) Information supplied under subsection (3) of this section shall not be supplied by the recipient to any other person or body unless--

(a) it could be supplied to that person or body under that subsection; or

(b) it is supplied for the purposes of any civil or criminal proceedings relating to this Act;

and shall not be supplied in those circumstances without the authority of the Secretary of State.

(5) This section does not limit the circumstances in which information may be supplied or used apart from this section.

(6) In this section "the relevant Minister" means--

(a) in relation to England, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; and

(b) in relation to Wales, the Minister of the Crown with the function of appointing officers under section 12 of this Act in relation to Wales.".'.

No. 36, in page 38, line 49, at end insert--

'(12) Where an order under this section fixes any particular minimum rate of wages by reference to two or more component rates, of which--

(a) one is the principal component, and

(b) the other or others are supplemental or additional components,

(as in a case where the minimum rate for night work is fixed as the sum of the minimum rate payable in respect of work other than night work and a supplemental or additional minimum rate in respect of working at night) the national minimum wage provisions of this section apply in relation to the principal component rate and not the supplemental or additional component rates.

(13) The national minimum wage provisions of this section do not apply in relation to any minimum rate which is in the nature of an allowance payable in respect of some particular responsibility or circumstance (as in a case where a minimum rate is fixed in respect of being required to keep a dog).

(14) The national minimum wage provisions of this section do not apply in relation to any minimum rate fixed under this section--

(a) by virtue of subsection (2)(d) of this section, or

(b) by virtue of section 67 of the Agriculture Act 1967 (sick pay),

unless and to the extent that regulations under section 2 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 make provision which has the effect that circumstances or periods in respect of which

the minimum rate in question is required to be paid to a worker are treated as circumstances in which, or times at which, a person is to be regarded as working.

(15) In this section "the national minimum wage provisions of this section" means subsections (2B), (2C) and (8) to (10) of this section.'.

No. 35, in page 39, line 40, at end insert--

'(4) In section 104A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (unfair dismissal: national minimum wage) in subsection (1)(c)--

(a) any reference to a person qualifying for the national minimum wage includes a reference to a person being or becoming entitled to a minimum rate applicable under this Act; and

(b) any reference to a person qualifying for a particular rate of national minimum wage includes a reference to a person being or becoming entitled to a particular minimum rate applicable under this Act.'.

No. 37, in page 40, line 40, at end insert--

'Section 12

14A.--(1) Section 12 (officers) shall be amended as follows.

(2) Subsection (4)(a) (power to institute civil proceedings on behalf of worker on account of payment of wages at less than the applicable minimum rate etc) shall cease to have effect.

(3) At the end of the section there shall be added--

"(7) The powers conferred by subsection (3) of this section are not exercisable in any case where corresponding or similar powers conferred by any of the enforcement provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, as they have effect for the purposes of this Act, are exercisable by virtue of section 3A of this Act.

(8) In subsection (7) of this section, "the enforcement provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998" has the same meaning as in subsection (1) of section 3A of this Act.".'.

No. 39, in page 40, line 40, at end insert--

'Information obtained by national minimum wage officers

14B. After section 15 there shall be inserted--

"Information obtained by national minimum wage officers

15A.--(1) This section applies to information which has been obtained by an officer acting for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and which is held by--

(a) the relevant Minister; or

(b) a government department or other body which is party to arrangements in force under section 13(1)(b) of that Act.

(2) This section does not apply to any information to the extent that the information relates to--

(a) any failure to allow holidays directed to be allowed by an order under section 3 of this Act; or

(b) any terms and conditions of employment fixed by such an order by virtue of subsection (1)(c) of that section.

(3) Information to which this section applies may, with the authority of the relevant Minister, be supplied to the Secretary of State for use for any purpose relating to this Act.

(4) Information supplied under subsection (3) of this Act shall not be supplied by the recipient to any other person or body unless--

(a) it could be supplied to that person or body under that subsection; or

(b) it is supplied for the purposes of any civil or criminal proceedings relating to this Act;

and shall not be supplied in those circumstances without the authority of the relevant Minister.

(5) This section does not limit the circumstances in which information may be supplied or used apart from this section.

(6) In this section "the relevant Minister" means the Minister of the Crown with the function of appointing officers under section 13(1)(a) of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.".'.

No. 30, in page 42, line 49, at end insert--

'(17) Where an order under this Article fixes any particular minimum rate of wages by reference to two or more component rates, of which--

(a) one is the principal component, and

(b) the other or others are supplemental or additional components,

(as in a case where the minimum rate for night work is fixed as the sum of the minimum rate payable in respect of work other than night work and a supplemental or additional minimum rate in respect of working at night) the national minimum wage provisions of this Article apply in relation to the principal component rate and not the supplemental or additional component rates.

(18) The national minimum wage provisions of this Article do not apply in relation to any minimum rate which is in the nature of an allowance payable in respect of some particular responsibility or circumstance (as in a case where a minimum rate is fixed in respect of being required to keep a dog).

(19) The national minimum wage provisions of this Article do not apply in relation to any minimum rate fixed under this Article by virtue of Article 5 or 8(5), unless and to the extent that regulations under section 2 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 make provision which has the effect that circumstances or periods in respect of which the minimum rate in question is required to be paid to a worker employed in agriculture are treated as circumstances in which, or times at which, a person is to be regarded as working.

(20) In this Article "the national minimum wage provisions of this Article" means paragraphs (1A), (1B) and (13) to (15).'.

No. 12, in page 44, line 28, at end insert--

'(5) In Article 135A of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (unfair dismissal: national minimum wage) in paragraph (1)(c)--

(a) any reference to a person qualifying for the national minimum wage includes a reference to a person being or becoming entitled to a minimum rate applicable under this Order; and

(b) any reference to a person qualifying for a particular rate of national minimum wage includes a reference to a person being or becoming entitled to a particular minimum rate applicable under this Order.'.

No. 34, in page 44, line 28, at end insert--

'Information obtained by national minimum wage officers

23. After Article 11 there shall be inserted--

"Information obtained by national minimum wage officers.

11A.--(1) This Article applies to information which has been obtained by an officer acting for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and which is held by--

(a) the Secretary of State; or

(b) a government department or other body which is party to arrangements in force under section 13(1)(b) of that Act.

(2) This Article does not apply to any information to the extent that the information relates to any failure to allow holidays in accordance with Article 8.

(3) Information to which this Article applies may, with the authority of the Secretary of State, be supplied to the Department for use for any purpose relating to this Order.

(4) Information supplied under paragraph (3) shall not be supplied by the recipient to any other person or body unless--

(a) it could be supplied to that person or body under that paragraph; or

(b) it is supplied for the purposes of any civil or criminal proceedings relating to this Order;

and shall not be supplied in those circumstances without the authority of the Secretary of State.

(5) This Article does not limit the circumstances in which information may be supplied or used apart from this Article.".'.-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

Amendments made: No. 32, in page 44, line 45, column 3, at end insert

'In section 12(5)(a), the words "on account of the payment of wages to him at less than the minimum rate applicable or".'.

No. 38, in page 45, line 10, column 3, at end insert 'Section 12(4)(a).'.-- [Mr. Ian McCartney.]

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.--[ Mr Betts. ]

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:--

The House divided: Ayes 214, Noes 124.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Con0 124 (+2 tell)077.8%
Lab209 (+2 tell) 0050.6%
LDem5 0010.9%
Total:214 124054.7%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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NameConstituencyPartyVote
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