Clause 8

Part of Employment Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 14 October 2008.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:15, 14 October 2008

We now come to the provisions that deal with the minimum wage, which are important. We touched on the minimum wage when discussing clause 7, and clause 8 deals with minimum wage arrears.

It might be helpful to the Committee if I set out the difference between how arrears are dealt with now and how we intend to deal with them in future under the provisions in clause 8. Let us consider the case of a mythical minimum wage worker who finds that they have been paid less than the minimum wage over a period of two or three years. As hon. Members will know, the Low Pay Commission recommends the rate of the minimum wage and, since its inception, it has increased year on year. My Sunday Mirror told me a couple of weeks ago that, if there is a change of Government in future, that could change. It said that senior Conservatives have said that the minimum wage will whither on the vine. Ten years on, perhaps that was a revealing insight into Conservative party thinking. It is certainly not how the Government think. Under us, the minimum wage has increased both in line with average earnings and in relation to prices.