Draft National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023

Published date : 09 January, 2024
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship this afternoon, Ms Harris. The instrument before us repeals a measure that allowed employers of au pairs, nannies, carers and companions an exemption from the requirement to pay the national minimum wage. It immediately begs the question of why they were allowed not to. It has also had the effect of excluding some domestic workers, particularly those from overseas, from the protections that the national minimum wage is designed to offer.

On that basis, the SNP thoroughly support this instrument. The exemption in the national minimum wage legislation always carried the risk of leaving people being exploited. As the Minister has outlined, the Low Pay Commission recommended in October 2021 that it be repealed following the decision of an earlier employment tribunal. In our view, making this amendment is absolutely the right thing to do. Fundamentally, paying people a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work is a cornerstone of a fair society. This instrument sets a clear requirement and expectation of what has to be done. That is very much to be welcomed.

As the shadow Minister and the right hon. Member for North West Cambridgeshire have said, many of the workers affected by this instrument are likely to be in quite vulnerable, potentially precarious situations. They may not know about what we are discussing today and the effects it has. They may not know how to assert their rights in future once it is passed. They are therefore at risk of continued exploitation. I welcome the assurances given by the Minister about how that issue can kept in mind and monitored, but I find much merit in what the shadow Minister has called for: a public information campaign so that as many people as possible can know about what is happening today, whether it is their own rights or the rights of others, and so that employers know what their responsibilities are to their workers who are affected. With that in mind, we are very happy to support the measure.

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