An Answer from Swiss Des re: NMW

I have, after some time, received an answer from Swiss re: pay and the NMW.
Unfortunately I can't remember the thread it was on. MODs please feel free to move to appropriate thread.

Swiss Des said:
D/S of S/DB MC01xxx/2007

Telephone: 020 7218 9000 (Switchboard) 17 March 2007

[align=justify]Thank you for your letter of 26 February (reference: LO/sh/Xxxxxx) to Adam Ingram enclosing one from your constituent, Xxxxxxx of Xxxxxxxxxx, Powys, expressing concern about the level of pay for the most junior soldiers in comparison with the National Minimum Wage.

The Armed Forces are exempt from the provisions of the 1998 National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act. Nevertheless, we aim to ensure that the Armed Forces are in line with its provisions whenever possible, operational considerations permitting.

Pay rates for all UK Service personnel are recommended by the independent Armed Forces' Pay Review Body (AFPRB) which reports annually to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. The AFPRB bases its recommendations on broad comparability with the pay of civilian occupations of similar job weight and responsibility within the UK. To this an additional element, the "X Factor", is then added to reflect the differences between conditions of service experienced by members of the UK Armed Forces over a full career and conditions in UK civilian life, which cannot be taken directly into account in assessing pay comparability. This includes the need to serve on occasions in difficult and dangerous circumstances. The "X-Factor" is paid throughout a Service career, regardless of where individuals are serving and is pensionable.

Lembit Opik MP
3 Park Street
Newtown SY16 1 EE

The 2007 AFPRB Report was published on 1 March. The AFPRB recommended an increase in basic military salary of 3.3 percent for all ranks, a targeted restructuring of the pay, resulting in an increase of over 9 percent for the most junior trained Service personnel and new financial retention incentives for the Royal Marines and Infantry Other Ranks, together with an extension of the existing incentive scheme for Aircrew. The Government has accepted the AFPRB's recommendations in full, with implementation effective from 1 April 2007.

Consequently from this date, new entrant soldiers will be paid a salary of £12,571.92 per annum (£34.35 per day). After 26 weeks or completion of Phase 2 Training - which ever is earliest - new entrants will then move to an annual salary of £15,677.04 (£42.83 per day). The current NMW hourly rates are £5.35 for those aged 22 and over and £4.45 for those aged 18-21. Based on this, a new entrant soldier would have to work a weekly average of 45 hours and above (aged 22 and over) or 55 hours and above (aged 18-21) before falling below the NMW.

On advancement to an annual salary of £15,677.04, a soldier would have to work a weekly average of 57 hours and above (aged 22 and over) or 68 hours and above (aged 18-21) before falling below the NMW. Clearly, given the hours that troops have to work while on operations, I appreciate that it is inevitable that some junior personnel may earn less than the NMW while deployed.

Basic pay is part of a wider remuneration package payable to Service personnel which includes specialist pay e.g. Flying Pay or Parachute Pay, to recruit and retain personnel in specific branches or arms within the Services. Various allowances are also payable, such as a Separation Allowance, to compensate personnel for time away from their permanent base and separation from their families. A relatively recent addition to this package has been the Operational Allowance, introduced in October 2006 and backdated to 1 April 2006. The Operational Allowance is a tax free bonus of around £2,240 for Service personnel who complete a six month tour in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans. Proportional amounts are paid to those undertaking shorter and longer tours.[/align]

I hope this is helpful.
DES BROWNE[/align]

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