Up to 170,000 homeworkers could get more money under new minimum wage regulations announced today by the UK government.
The changes will mean that home and piece workers will have to be paid at a rate that is linked to the National Minimum Wage.
Homeworkers are employed by a wide range of companies in a variety of roles, including packing greeting cards, feeding strings into cloth products and assembling Christmas crackers.
The changes, which will be introduced in October 2004, will mean that home and piece workers will have to be paid at a rate that is linked to the National Minimum Wage.
In April 2005, homeworkers will see a further improvement in their wages when employers will have to pay the average worker at a rate of 120 per cent of the national minimum wage for a block of work.
Until now, employers have been able to set the rate of pay at four fifths of the time it takes an average worker to complete a set piece of work.
Employers will also have to ensure upfront transparency in terms of the hourly wage level and the time they expect the homework to commit sign-up for.
Employment Relations Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "Many homeworkers have suffered from low wages from unscrupulous employers and today's proposals will mean that around 170,000 homeworkers across the country could see their wages increase by thousands of pounds."
National Group on Homeworking (NGH). Director Linda Devereux highlighted the importance of compliance by employers to the new regulations.
"We know compliance is a problem in this sector but these amendments should help ensure that homeworkers are finally able to receive the full level of the national minimum wage.Ē