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Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY THURSDAY, 25 JULY 2013 Part 2
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.07.2013 (Article Archived on 28.08.2013)

The Minimum Wage Bill - Explanation by the Hon Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett:





LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY THURSDAY, 25 JULY 2013



The
Minimum Wage Bill -
Explanation
by the Hon Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett:



And Part 1 of the Debate



 



By J.
Brock (FINN)



 



A meeting of legislative Assembly
took place in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 0930hrs on
Thursday, 25 July 2013.  Present were the
Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, the Clerk of Assembly, Mrs Claudette Prior,
the Chief Executive, the Hon Mr Keith Padgett, the Attorney General Mr mark
Lewis, the Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands Russell William La
Forte, CBE, MA, BA, RAF, Mrs Nicola Granger, the Financial Secretary, Mr Mark
Lewis, the Attorney General and MLAs Cheek, Elsby, Edwards, Hansen, Sawle and
Short.  MLAs Summers and Halford did not
attend.



 



 



ORDER OF THE DAY: BILLS



 



Legislation to be processed during this session
include the Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour (Advisory Board)(Repeal) Bill and the
Members Remuneration Bill.



 



The
Minimum Wage Bill had been published in the Gazette and went to a second
reading.



 



Explanation by the Hon Chief Executive, Mr Keith Padgett:



 



Mr
Speaker, Honourable Members, this Bill will establish a Minimum Wage in the Falkland
Islands.  It’s part of a package of
legislation that will also include appropriate subsidiary legislation.  Subsidiary legislation has already been
drafted and has been approved in principle by Executive Council but it will
only be made if this Bill is passed.  It
may surprise many to know that there is already minimum wage in the Falkland
Islands.  However, it dates from 1942 and
is not fit for purpose in the modern era.



 



This
Bill and the subsidiary legislation to be made under it would repeal the
Minimum Wage Labour Ordinance and replace it with a comprehensive, up to date
regime.  The aim of the Bill is to deliver
a fair wage to low-paid workers without limiting their employment opportunities
or harming the efficiency of business. 
Its introduction will be a significant milestone in achieving the aims
of the Islands’ Plan.



 



The
package of Minimum Wage Legislation is based on input from a range of
stakeholders.  It also takes into account
the range of views that were expressed during the period of public
consultation.  It is being presented as a
package that represents Government Policy and that package reflects a need to
strike a balance between the various interests involved.



 



The
Bill establishes the general principal that everyone over the age of 16, who is
working in the Falkland Islands is entitled to a minimum wage for the work they
do.



 



There
are a number of special cases and the Bill deals with these specifically.  The Bill provides for two different Island
Rates for Minimum Wage. – one for workers aged 16 and 17 and another for those
aged 18 or over.



 



When
proposals for Legislation were first considered by Executive Council, the
Minimum wage was only to apply to adult workers IE only those aged 18 or
more.  Following a specific request from
Executive Council, further work was carried out with stakeholders and a
compromise was agreed.  The Minimum wage
would be extended to 16 and 17 year olds but it would be at a lower rate to reflect
the fact that younger workers have generally not gained the same level of
confidence and experience as adult workers.



 



The
Bill makes provisions for subsidiary legislation to be made dealing with the
detailed calculations of hours worked and the amount paid to workers’ that
count for minimum wage purposes.



 



The
Bill also deals with the records employers will need to keep to show that they
are paying the minimum wage and with workers’ rights to have reasonable access
to those records.  These provisions are
intended to ensure that both employers and workers are protected without making
the requirements more onerous than they need to be.



 



The
Bill contains provisions that are intended to ensure that workers are protected
from certain adverse consequences because they are entitled to a minimum wage
or if they do anything to stand up for their rights.  It also provides that the Minimum Wage is
mandatory and that attempts to contract out of it will be ineffective.



 



If
problems and/or disputes do arise due to the Minimum Wage it is hoped that they
can be sorted out informally and amicably. 
However, in case that’s not possible, the Bill provides for mechanisms
that workers can use to enforce their rights.



 



The
Minimum Wage does not provide for criminal sanctions but it does provide for
civil enforcement through the Summary Court; and in appropriate cases, the
Summary Court could award damages and/or costs.



 



Finally,
the Bill provides for guidance to be issued to employers and workers.



 



The
Minimum Wage Bill is perhaps the most significant intervention that was made
under Labour backing for many years, ensuring fair and equal treatment in the
workplace is a key aim of the Islands’ Plan.



 



The
Bill provides pay protection for low-paid workers and will ensure that no one
in work will live in poverty.



 



I beg
to move that the Bill be given a second reading.



 



The Hon
Mr Dick Sawle MLA seconded the Motion.



 



BE:  Mr Speaker, I would just like to say that I fully support the Minimum
Wage Bill in the Islands but I will be proposing amendments within the
Committee stage.



 



JC:  I would like to say that I welcome this Bill.  It is something that some of us have wanted
to see for a very long time.  While I
believe a tiny minority of people working in the Islands will be affected
because they currently are earning less than the Minimum wage, I think we
should bear in mind that people will be paid at least that minimum wage.  To some extent it will be market driven.  If you want to compete for employees you will
have to pay the going rate.  I may have
more to say during these proceedings.



 



GS:  Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would like to fully associate myself
with the comments made by the Hon Jan Cheek about this Bill.  I am actually very, very thrilled that we
actually be minutes away from this actually becoming law in the Falklands.  It is something that I and I know others
before me have believed it is something that is required.



 



It is a
peculiar Bill as the Honourable Member said, that in as much it is not going to
have any great effect on the present workforce because I think those who
probably found themselves or thought they were going to be on the wrong side of
this upped their game pretty quickly when they knew it was coming along but
this is also, perhaps more importantly a Bill that is actually looking forward
because as we actually have greater development in the Islands we may see the
need to bring in what could be very cheap labour to do very large projects and
it certainly would be something that would protect them.  So I really would like to associate myself
with this bill.



 



The
Bill was read a second time and the House went into Committee.  As it was a fairly long debate the Speaker
asked that the House carry it out while sitting.



 



KP:  I beg to move that Clauses 1 to 34 stand part of the Bill.



 



BE:  Mr Speaker, I beg to move a Procedural Motion, that before the Chief
Executive’s Motion is put, the Committee debates the principles that the Bill
should be amended to provide a single Minimum Wage Rate for all workers instead
of these separate rates for 16 and 17 year-olds and those over 18 year old.



 



KB:  The Motion is that we should have a debate as the Honourable Dr Elsby
has proposed before the Chief Executive’s Motion is put.  Is there any objection to that Motion?



 



There
was no objection.



 



BE:  I beg that the Bill should be amended to provide for a single Minimum
Wage Rate for all workers instead of the separate rates.  I specifically have not written a speech to
read out because I think what I would like to do is get Members to debate as I
go along, so please feel free to interrupt.



 



As I
said earlier I fully support the need for this Bill and I think my Honourable
Colleague, Gavin Short here should be praised for the constant pushing along of
this Bill to make sure it actually got to legislation and I think there is a
lot to be said in thanking all people for working toward making this happen.



 



I
tabled this amendment because I feel the Bill is discriminatory by proposing
that those who are 16 and 17 year olds do the same job as a person who is 18
should be paid less.  Our Constitution
clearly states that we cannot discriminate. 
And, I know the Attorney General has considered this matter in his
explanations in the Bill but he feels this discrimination is allowable but I
disagree and that’s why I am moving this amendment.



 



We
would never dream these days on discriminating on the grounds of sex.  We certainly would never dream of
discriminating on the grounds of race or religion and so why should we be
discriminating on the grounds of age of 16, 17 or 18 year olds if they can do
the same job.  And I would like to read a
bit from the Bill because the explanation part in the papers explaining how the
Bill has been developed.  And under Part
4:



 



• Part 4 deals with minimum wage
rates and includes duties for the Governor to set minimum wage rates for adults
(those aged 18 or over) and young persons (those aged 16 or 17) and for those
rates to be kept under review.



 



Part 4 – Minimum wage rates



 



Under
clause 11(1), there would be
two different minimum wage rates:



 




For workers aged 18 or over, there would be a minimum wage rate for adults – it
is proposed that this would initially be £5.05 per hour.



 




For workers aged 16 or 17, there would be a minimum wage rate for young persons
– it is proposed that this would initially be £3.10 per hour.



 



Because
the two different rates involve an element of age discrimination, consideration
has been given to the requirements of section 16 of the Constitution (which
prohibits unjustified discrimination in Falkland Islands legislation). It is
considered that the difference can be justified on the basis that younger
workers are generally not as competent or experienced as adult workers and so
are less valued by employers.



Clause 11(2) deals with the specific situation in which a
worker’s 18th birthday falls during a pay reference period.



 



Under
clause 12, the Governor would
have to make an order to set the minimum wage rates. A draft of the order
setting the two rates is gazetted separately and the Governor would make this
order on the advice of Executive Council.



 



Under
clause 13, the minimum wage
rates would have to be kept under review and the Governor (normally, acting on
the advice of Executive Council) would be able to change the minimum wage rates
by order. Under clause 13(2),
reviews would have to take place at least every 12 months.



 



To
ensure that employers are given advance notice of changes to minimum wage
rates, clause 13(3) provides
that changes cannot come into effect for at least 3 months after they have been
published.



 



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Transcription Service



 

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