The government is committed to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which offers protection to workers whilst incentivising work. To increase the clarity of NMW rules, new regulations, the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, will come into force on 6 April 2015. These regulations will merge a number of amendments into 1 single set of regulations as part of the Red Tape Challenge, to make it simpler for businesses to understand their obligations.
Since they were first introduced, the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 have been amended over 20 times. As well as the annual changes to the minimum wage rates, there have been a number of substantial changes to the rules. For example, changes have been made in relation to exemptions to the National Minimum Wage and also to what counts as hours worked. It is important that employers understand their obligations and workers understand their rights. The regulations contain detailed rules which underpin the minimum wage regime.
The regulations now group topics together so that, for example, all exclusions to the NMW sit together – whereas previously rules were scattered across a number of disparate regulations. This consolidation has not made policy changes to the NMW regime.
Government consulted on this consolidation exercise in July 2014. The majority of respondents to the consultation welcomed the consolidation and said that this has resulted in making the detailed rules clearer and more workable. NMW legislation is important because is directly relevant to many workers and employers. By ensuring the rules and guidance are clear we will ensure that people are paid what they are entitled to.
Respondents to the government consultation noted that even further clarity would be welcome, particularly through government guidance. We have committed to revisit the guidance and look to publish more practical examples in the future to provide further clarity where necessary.
Notes to editors
- The government is committed to the minimum wage as it provides protection for low-income workers and incentives to work.
- The Red Tape Challenge was introduced by government to give business and the general public the opportunity to challenge the government to get rid of burdensome regulations, to boost business and economic growth and to save taxpayers money.
- On 22 July 2014, government published a consultation on consolidating existing National Minimum Wage regulations.
- This consolidation has not made policy changes to the National Minimum Wage regime. We consulted on whether the consolidation accurately replicates the existing National Minimum Wage Regulations. We did not consult on whether the legislation itself should have substantive changes.
- We consulted on how best to restructure existing National Minimum Wage regulations, which have been amended on numerous occasions, into a single set of Regulations.
- The consultation was open for 8 weeks and closed on 15 September 2014 and drew 22 responses.
- A government response was issued on 22 January 2015.
- The amended regulations were cleared by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.
- The draft National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 were debated and agreed by Committees from both Houses of Parliament on Monday 2 March 2015.
- The new regulations will come into force on the Common Commencement date of 6 April 2015.