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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

04 MAY 2016

Government scraps prohibition on 'check-off'

Government scraps prohibition on 'check-off'
Gemma Cawthray
Associate, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

On 19 April 2016, the Trade Union Bill (the Bill) had its report stage debate in the House of Lords.

Clause 14 of the Bill applies to the public sector and proposes a blanket prohibition on 'check-off', under which an employer can make trade union subscription deductions from wages payable to workers.

It has been argued that the prohibition on check-off arrangements would undermine trade unions and have the effect of employees on low pay ceasing to be trade union members ,or pay extra bank charges connected with direct debits.

Lord Bridges of Headley confirmed that the prohibition on check-off would be scrapped 'to avoid further acrimony on this issue'.

Instead, the government has supported an amendment which allows check-off to continue where an agreement exists between an employer and a trade union which provides for:

  • the remittance by the employer to the trade union of those deductions
  • the making of a payment by the trade union to the employer in respect of that remittance
  • the option for a worker to pay their subscriptions by other means
Final amendments were made to the Bill during the third reading on 25 April. The Bill will now go to the House of Commons for consideration of the House of Lords' amendments.
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