Written Answers. - National Minimum Wage.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

172 Mr. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the situation of piece rate payments in relation to the national minimum wage legislation; the powers open to her to regulate piece rates; and if she will ensure this form of payment is in compliance with minimum wage legislation. [2051/01]

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000, came into force on 1 April 2000 and set the national minimum hourly rate of pay at £4.40. Lower hourly rates apply in certain circumstances and for a defined period only. The Act provides that certain payments, if earned by an employee, are reckonable when determining if the employee has been paid his or her minimum hourly rate of pay entitlement. The reckonable pay components are listed in Part 1 of the Schedule to the Act, which includes piece rate payments that are productivity related. An employer must ensure, therefore, an employee, who is employed on a piece rate system, is paid at least his or her statutory minimum hourly rate of pay entitlement for the hours worked by the employee in a pay reference period.

My colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Harney, has no powers under the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000, to regulate piece rates. Complaints concerning an alleged under-payment of an employee's statutory minimum hourly rate of pay can be made to the labour inspectorate of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, 65a Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. The telephone number is (01) 6312121 or Lo-call 1890 220222.