The controversial Employment Opportunities Bill has been defeated in its second reading at the House of Commons. The Bill, which included a proposal to allow adult employees to “opt out” of their statutory entitlement to receive the National Minimum Wage (NMW), was defeated by 33 votes to 5 on 17 June 2011.

Christopher Chope, the former Conservative MP who put the Bill forward last year, said…

“…the Bill was designed to introduce more freedom, flexibility and opportunity for those seeking employment in the public and private sectors”.

…and added that…

“…current laws prevented British workers selling their labour “at a price of their own choosing”.

Mr Chope had claimed that the NMW had contributed to the UK’s high unemployment rate and was hindering the UK’s economic recovery. In response, Labour MP’s highlighted the negative impact the bill would have had on the very people that the NMW was designed to protect. Labour also strongly denies that the NMW has had any significant bearing on current rates of unemployment, and is adamant that its introduction has been “highly successful”.

The NMW was introduced to the UK in 1999 and was designed to influence the distribution of income in society by increasing the pay of lower-paid workers who might be at risk from exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

If you’re an employer with that pays NMW to some of your employees, contact us for guidance and support on the various factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to ensure you are meeting minimum requirements in this regard.