Skip to main content

Wages Inspectorate

Volume 131: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1988

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list for each year from 1979 to 1987 in relation to (i) all wages councils, (ii) the Hat, Cap and

197919801981198219831984198519861987
All wages councils
Number of homeworkers whose pay was checked in employers' records3,5702,5651,6651,3581,9741,8831,6061,374858
Number of homeworkers visited to check pay922658439288426300NA1
Total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid101160911135912221814
Total amount of arrears assessed as due to homeworkers£4,065£5,326£4,815£10,221£8,325£25,814£2,909£2,174NA1
Hat, Cap and Millinery wages council
Number of homeworkers whose pay was checked in employers' records7786655759254712
Number of homeworkers visited to check pay11791953615NA1
Total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid0010000NA1
Total amount of arrears assessed as due to homeworkers00£1500000NA1
Clothing Manufacturing2 wages council
Number of homeworkers whose pay was checked in employers' records2,3731,6419579851,0851,4401,1871,041464
Number of homeworkers visited to check pay703555308222266244NA1
Total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid16643382512020612
Total amount of arrears assessed as due to homeworkers£489£233£1,448£2,960£2,559£20,545£2,179£1,842NA1
Made-up Textiles wages council
Number of homeworkers whose pay was checked in employers' records270101000011

Millinery wages council, (iii) the Clothing Manufacturing wages council, (iv) the Made-Up Textiles wages council and (v) the Retail Bespoke wages council (a) the number of homeworkers in respect of whom the Wages Inspectorate examined employers' records, (b) the number of homeworkers who were visited to check the accuracy of employers' records, (c) the number of homeworkers found to be underpaid as a result of a visit to check the accuracy of employers' records, (d) the amount of arrears assessed as due to those homeworkers, (e) the amount of arrears collected for them (f) the total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid, (g) the total amount of arrears assessed as due to them and (h) the total amount of arrears collected for them.

The statistics compiled by the Wages Inspectorate do not provide for separate identification of homeworkers visited to check employers' records who were found to be underpaid. Although figures are available for the amount of arrears assessed as due to all homeworkers, the amounts collected for them are not separately identifiable. However, in the experience of the inspectorate it is rare for arrears assessed as due to homeworkers not to be paid.I regret that the figures stated in the

Official Report for 23 May 1986, at columns 359 and 360, were incorrectly stated to be "arrears paid". The relevant line should have read "arrears assessed". The information requested which is available is in the following table:

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

Number of homeworkers visited to check pay20410000NA1
Total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid000000000
Total amount of arrears assessed as due to homeworkers000000000

Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages council

Number of homeworkers whose pay was checked in employers' records563315152624262426
Number of homeworkers visited to check pay391147138NA1
Total number of homeworkers found to be underpaid120000120
Total amount of arrears assessed as due to homeworkers£5£3230000£30£3320

1 NA—Not available due to a change in method of compiling statistics.

2 Statistics for 1979 and 1980 relate to seven councils which were merged in 1980 to form the Clothing Manufacturing wages council.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list for each year from 1979 to 1987 (a) the total number of homeworkers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate but who were assessed as not being underpaid, (b) the total number of homeworkers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate and who were assessed as being underpaid and (c) (a) as a percentage of (b);(2) if he will list for each year from 1979 to 1987 in respect of (i) the Clothing Manufacturing, (ii) the Hat, Cap and Millinery (iii) the Made-Up Textiles and (iv) the Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages councils

(a) the number of homeworkers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate but who were assessed as not being underpaid, (b) the number of homeworkers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate and who were assessed as being underpaid and (c) (a) as a percentage of (b).

I regret that the comparisons requested cannot be provided. As virtually all homeworkers in the wages council trades are pieceworkers, what is checked and recorded by inspectors is whether the rates per piece paid by the employer meet the statutory minimum remuneration required of section 15 of the Act. If they do, no homeworker employed on that work is being underpaid. If any do not, all the workers (aged 21 or over) employed on the work concerned are being underpaid and arrears are assessed accordingly. The actual earnings of homeworkers are not therefore a factor in determining whether they are being paid at least the statutory minimum remuneration due. Provided an adequate piece rate has been fixed by the employer, it is up to individual pieceworkers how much they earn.The numbers of homeworkers found to be underpaid in the wages council trades specified are provided in a separate reply.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will publish for 1986 and 1987 a table showing (a) the total number of workers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate but who were assessed as not being

underpaid, (b) the number of workers found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate and who were assessed as being underpaid and (c) (a) as a percentage of (b);

(2) if he will publish for 1986 and 1987 in respect of (i) the Clothing Manufacturing, (ii) the Hat, Cap and Millinery, (iii) the Made-Up Textiles and (iv) the Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages councils (a) the number of workers covered by the Clothing Manufacturing wages council found by the Wages Inspectorate to he earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate but who were assessed as not being underpaid, (b) the number of workers covered by the Clothing Manufacturing wages council found by the Wages Inspectorate to be earning less than the statutory minimum hourly rate and who were assessed as being underpaid and (c) (a) as a percentage of (b).

I regret that the comparisons requested cannot be provided. Although the Wages Act 1986 enables wages councils to fix a minimum hourly rate, whether or not workers are earning above or below that rate is not necessarily recorded by wages inspectors. What inspectors check and record is whether the legal requirement is met, that is, whether the total sum paid to workers for the week is at least the statutory minimum remuneratin due for that week. Only workers found by inspectors to be receiving less are assessed and recorded as being underpaid. For time workers, statutory minimum remuneration is defined in section 14(4) of the Act. For pieceworkers, the definition is in section 15.The figures requested for workers found to be underpaid in 1986 and 1987 are as follows:

19861997
All wages councils15,5339,129
Clothing Manufacturing942630
Hat, Cap and MillineryNone5
Made-up Textiles21
Retail Bespoke Tailoring104

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will publish in relation to all wages councils for 1986 and 1987 (a) the amount of arrears assessed by the Wages Inspectorate as due to workers but not recovered, (b) the amount where recovery was not considered practicable, (c) the amounts in (a) and (b) expressed as percentages of the arrears actually recovered, (d) the number of workers in respect of whom arrears were assessed but not recovered, (e) the number of workers for whom recovery of arrears was not considered practicable and (f) the numbers in (d) and (e) expressed as percentages of the number to whom arrears were actually paid;(2) if he will publish in relation to (i) the Clothing Manufacturing, (ii) the Hat, Cap and Millinery, (iii) the Made-Up Textiles and (iv) the Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages councils for 1986 and 1987 (a) the amount of

All wages council tradesClothing manufacturingRetail bespoke tailoring
198619871986198719861987
(a) Arrears assessed but not recovered£756,707£416,596£38,425£38,681£136£765
(b) Arrears where recovery was not considered practicable£349,006£193,135£35,487£34,058£136£765
(c1) (a) above as percentage of the arrears recovered47·650·466·980·05·8440
(c2) (b) above as a percentage of the arrears recovered22·023·461·880·05·8440
(d) Workers for whom arrears were assessed but not recovered2,5911,62424613812
(e) Workers for whom recovery was not considered practicable1,29882623111712
(f1) (d) above as a percentage of workers paid arrears20·021·535·327·711·1100
(f2) (e) above as a percentage of workers paid arrears10·010·933·223·511·1100
In 1986 and 1987, all arrears were fully recovered in the Hat, Cap and Millinery and the Made-Up Textiles wages council trades. The figures in the table do not indicate the extent to which arrears were recovered in the Clothing Manufacturing and Retail Bespoke Tailoring trades, or in wages council trades overall. The position in 1987 for wages council trades overall was as follows:

£Per cent.
Total arrears assessed1,242,524
Arrears not pursued at the request of workers223,46118·0
Arrears not pursued for other reasons193,13515·5
Arrears paid825,92866·5

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will publish for each year from 1979 to 1987 the total number of establishments where employers were found by the Wages Inspectorate not to have displayed copies of wages orders as required by the wages council legislation: and if he will express this number as a percentage of the establishments visited by the inspectorate;(2) if he will publish for each year from 1979 to 1987 the total number of establishments classified to the Clothing Manufacturing wages council where employers were found by the Wages Inspectorate not to have displayed copies of wages orders as required by the wages council legislation: and if he will express this number as a percentage of the establishments classified to the Clothing Manufacturing wages council visited by the inspectorate;

Numbers of establishments found not to be displaying copies of wages orders
Percentages
197919801981198219831984198519861987
All wages council trades
(a) numbers of establishments checked by8,5559,1886,8226,5687,3888,5258,3708,0576,275

arrears assessed by the Wages Inspectorate as due to workers but not recovered, (b) the amount where recovery was not considered practicable, (c) the amounts in (a) and (b) expressed as percentages of the arrears actually recovered, (d) the number of workers in respect of whom arrears were assessed but not recovered, (e) the number of workers for whom recovery of arrears was not considered practicable and (f) the numbers in (d) and (e) expressed as percentages of the number of workers to whom arrears were actually paid.

The information requested is given in the following table:(3) if he will publish for each year from 1979 to 1987 the total number of establishments classified to the Hat, Cap and Millinery wages council where employers were found by the Wages Inspectorate not to have displayed copies of wages orders as required by the wages council legislation: and if he will express this number as a percentage of the establishments classified to the Hat, Cap and Millinery wages council visited by the inspectorate;(4) if he will publish for each year from 1979 to 1987 the total number of establishments classified to the Made-up Textiles wages council where employers were found by the Wages Inspectorate not to have displayed copies of wages orders as required by the wages council legislation; and if he will express this number as a percentage of the establishments classified to the Made-up Textiles wages council visited by the inspectorate;(5) if he will publish for each year from 1979 to 1987 the total number of establishments classified to the Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages council where employers were found by the Wages Inspectorate not to have displayed copies of wages orders as required by the wages council legislation: and if he will express this number as a percentage of the establishments classified to the Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages council visited by the inspectorate.

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

visit found not to be displaying notices of wages orders

(b) (a) as percentage if all establishments checked by visit

24·626·527·9

128·2

28·032·131·933·133·1
Clothing Manufacturing wages council

(a) numbers of establishments checked by visit found not to be displaying notices of wages orders

295155161205216271354246216

(b) (a) as percentage of all establishments checked by visit

25·719·823·031·427·127·230·628·824·4
Hat, Cap and Millinery wages council

(a) numbers of establishments checked by visit found not to be displaying notices of wages orders

021453000

(b) (a) as percentage of all establishments checked by visit

11·17·736·315·612·0
Made-up Textiles wages council

(a) numbers of establishments checked by visit found not to be displaying notices of wages orders

8431374797

(b) (a) as percentage of all establishments checked by visit

26·618·214·354·117·914·823·321·930·4
Retail Bespoke Tailoring wages council

(a) numbers of establishments checked by visit found not be displaying notices of wages orders

1412811101114269

(b) (a) as percentage of all establishments checked by visit

20·526·119·531·418·213·924·543·327·2
The proportion of establishments found not to be displaying notices is not representative of all employers covered by wages councils. Visits by inspectors tend to be concentrated on establishments more likely to be underpaying workers and less likely, therefore, to be displaying the current notice stating the minimum rates.

1 This figure was wrongly stated as 18·2 per cent. in a previous reply on 23 May 1986, at column 359 of the Official Report, due to an error in transcription.