HC Deb 02 June 1960 vol 624 cc1651-3

Lords Amendment: In page 9, line 10, at end insert: () Any reference in this Act to the particulars required by subsection (5) of section two thereof shall be construed as including a reference to the particulars required by that subsection as modified by the provisions of the Schedule to this Act, or by those provisions together with any provisions of an order made under that section which are applicable to the payment in question

4.7 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Peter Thomas)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

This and the other Amendments are complementary, and their combined purpose and effect is to carry out an undertaking given on Report by my right hon. Friend to try to find a form of words to apply the provisions of the Schedule to payments made under Clause 4, which deals with emergency payments by way of money order or postal order in the event of the employee being away for some reason.

It might assist hon. Members if I reminded them what my right hon. Friend said on Report. He said: It would be reasonable that where an employer is using a system which fits in with the Schedule…it should be in order for him when making a payment under Clause 4 to make the normal pay statement which would be made for the week—that is the logical way of dealing with it—and he should not interrupt the rhythm of the process to produce anything more. On the other hand, if the employer is not using a system which is acceptable under the schedule, he should provide a full statement if he is taking advantage of the provisions of Clause 4. If my hon. Friend"— that is, my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) — is willing to accept my assurance, we will endeavour to find a form of words—I think we have one—which we could put down in another place, so that when Clause 4 is used that would be the position."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th March, 1960; Vol. 620, c. 1385.] This and the following Amendments are the form of words my right hon. Friend has found. The substantive Amendment is the one in page 11, line 5, leave out from "Where" to "a" in line 6. All this does is to remove from the operation of the Schedule the restriction imposed by the words to be left out. Those words restrict the application of the provisions of the Schedule to payments of wages made in pursuance of a request made under Clause 1. It is the purpose of the Amendment to enable the Schedule to apply to payments made under Clause 4.

Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)

When the new Schedule was moved on behalf of the Government on Report, it was welcomed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) on behalf of hon. Members on this side of the House, and it seems logical that the Amendments now proposed should flow from it. We are jealous of the right of every workman to get complete information about any deductions made from his wages, and the new Schedule seems to be reasonable in this respect. There seems to be no reason why these provisions should not apply to payments made under Clause 4 as well as to those made under Clause I. There is no reason why there should be a more onerous obligation upon an employer in respect of these emergency payments as compared with payments made under the Bill generally.

As I understand the position, if an employer is making payments in accordance with the Schedule and then the workman concerned is away from his normal pay station, either because he is sick or because his work takes him away, and the employer sends him his wages by postal order or money order, he now need send only a statement giving the aggregate deductions, having previously made a complete statement of these deductions to the employee. That seems reasonable. If not, if the emergency payment is made suddenly, without the other provisions of the Bill being complied with, the employer will have to send a complete statement. That is also reasonable.

Without the Amendment a slight extra duty would be imposed on the employer if he were making payments under Clause 4 which might discourage him from making those payments, and it seems to us that payments made under Clause 4 are a useful part of the Bill. It is convenient to the workman to get his wages in this way. In fact, we suspect that this already happens in many cases, although, strictly speaking, it is illegal. The Bill will legalise payments of this kind, and it would be foolish if we did not extend the provisions of the new Schedule to those sorts of payments.

Question put and agreed to

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