EEF slams wage law paperwork

The Government’s draft regulations on the national minimum wage may lead to excessive bureaucracy for manufacturers, with no real gain for employers or employees, the EEF has claimed. In its detailed response to the Department of Trade and Industry’s consultation document on the draft national minimum wage regulations, the EEF complains that UK firms will […]

The Government’s draft regulations on the national minimum wage may lead to excessive bureaucracy for manufacturers, with no real gain for employers or employees, the EEF has claimed.

In its detailed response to the Department of Trade and Industry’s consultation document on the draft national minimum wage regulations, the EEF complains that UK firms will be forced to do more than their European counterparts. But it also concedes that implementation of the minimum wage will have little direct impact on the engineering industry.

Its main concern is the requirement for companies to provide all their employees, no matter how much they earn, with a detailed statement about the national minimum wage every time they are paid.

‘This excessive bureaucracy is a requirement that does not have to be carried out by the UK’s European competitors, where a national minimum wage already exists,’ said the EEF.

David Yeandle, EEF head of employment affairs, said: ‘The imposition of this bureaucracy seems to fly in the face of recent statements by Government ministers about minimising the administrative burdens on business.’

The EEF has calculated that, assuming that on average, most engineering companies pay salaries on a fortnightly basis, its member companies will need to use 43,200 reams of A4 paper a year to give the statement to their 900,000 employees.

The EEF wants the Government to rule that the statement should go only to workers earning less than £10,000 a year, and then only when they start new employment or when the level of the minimum wage is changed.

It has also urged the Government to accept the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission and exempt all apprentices from the national minimum wage.

The hours that employees spend travelling to and from their normal place of work for training approved by their employer should also not count towards the hours for which the minimum wage has to be paid, adds the EEF.

The EEF also wants the Government to make it a priority to issue detailed and comprehensive guidance for employees before the national minimum wage is implemented next April.