To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce legislation to ensure that all employees have a right to an itemised pay statement.
Most employees already have the right to receive an itemised pay statement. We have no plans to extend the current legislative provisions.
The Minister is aware that those who work for 16 hours or less do not have the right to itemised pay statements unless they have worked for five years and that those who work less than eight hours have no right to them at all. Employees are scared to enforce their rights because if they did they would be unfairly dismissed. Should not every employee have that right and should not the Government therefore scrap the two-year rule, or are the Government determined to keep up their sweat-shop policies, contrary to what is happening in the rest of Europe?
I have received no representations on that matter and I am not aware of any disquiet among the groups that the hon. Gentleman described. As ever, we must balance the temptation to introduce such rights willy-nilly against the unreasonable cost burden that might rest increasingly on employers, especially those with only a few employees. I believe that we have the balance about right. If there is any question of unfair dismissal, those concerned always have the right to go to a tribunal, if they are protected in the way that the hon. Gentleman described. I remain to be convinced that there is a problem and that therefore we should necessarily consider the solution that the hon. Gentleman suggested.
Is not this one of several proposals that would add to the costs of employing part-time workers? Will my hon. Friend confirm that the directive on part-time working would mean that 1·75 million part-time workers, and their employers, would have to pay national insurance contributions?
My hon. Friend is correct. The Labour party has said that it would sign the directive on part-time working and many others, which would place an intolerable cost burden on British industry. That suggests that the Labour party does not care about employment. On the contrary, Labour Members are prepared to place ever more burdens on British business, which would only destroy jobs. That must be utterly reprehensible.