Following a consultation exercise, the government has published the draft National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations 2015, which will come into force on 6 April.
The new regulations, which do not make any substantive changes to the NMW Regulations 1999, follow a consultation exercise on consolidating all the regulations on how the minimum wage works. As these have been amended over 20 times since they were introduced in 1999, the idea was to make them easier for employers to follow.
The consultation asked whether there were any provisions which did not work or which were unclear; and whether there were other areas of the detailed rules which required a review.
Although there was general support for the government’s intention to consolidate the 1999 Regulations and subsequent amending regulations, most respondents suggested that further clarity would be welcome, particularly in the guidance to the regulations and that this should also provide more practical examples.
The government has therefore agreed to review the guidance during 2015 and will consider the various suggestions raised by respondents, taking account of any recent case law. A number of topics were identified that could benefit from improved clarity or specific guidance, including:
- National minimum wage calculations to ensure consistency with HMRC enforcement practices
- Rest breaks, the parameters of what counts as a rest break and methods for recording rest breaks
- Address ambiguity for “on call” arrangements
- Record-keeping in terms of travel time, rest breaks and those on education placements
- Sleep-in time
- Hours worked for the purpose of the national minimum wage
- Specific examples of calculations of basic hours exceeded
- Deductions or payments for the employer's use
- Payments and benefit in kind which do not form part of a worker’s remuneration
- Enhanced pay rates.
About half of respondents made suggestions which would require changes to the legal framework relating to the national minimum wage. The government has agreed to consider these during a possible future review which would require a further public consultation.
To read the consultation response, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/397182/bis-15-9-nmw-government-response.pdf
To view the draft regulations, go to: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111127964
Neil Todd, from Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “A key issue that remains unaddressed here is a plan for better enforcement of the National Minimum Wage. The TUC has recently outlined a 10 point programme of how this could be done in the course of the next parliament and it is hoped a future government would adopt this plan to ensure the legislation is fully effective.”