A key House committee has kept provisions that could hurt life insurers out of the House version of the minimum wage bill.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee moved by a voice vote late Monday to approve a bare-bones version of S. 2.

The version approved excludes provisions added in the Senate that could sharply limit use of non-qualified deferred compensation packages.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee apparently had intended that the provisions limiting use of non-qualified deferred comp plans apply mainly to the very highest paid executives, but insurance groups and other business groups have argued that the effects of the provisions would reach down to lower-level executives and managers and be far broader than the authors had intended.

S. 2 could go to the House floor Wednesday or Thursday, according to the Office of the House Majority Leader.

If the House passes this version of S. 2, it and the Senate probably will have to organize a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House version of the bill and the longer Senate version.

David Stertzer, chief executive of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Falls Church, Va., said after the vote that the AALU expects the full House to pass a minimum wage-small business tax relief package this week without including a provision on deferred compensation.

“AALU is continuing its vigorous Capitol Hill outreach urging that final legislation not include a Senate proposal that would have a very harmful affect on the ability of hundreds of thousands of employees who use deferred compensation to adequately save for retirement,” Stertzer says.

“At a time when our savings rate is at an all-time low, Congress should be finding ways to encourage, not discourage, employees to save for retirement and should not be taking away tools for employers to attract and retain quality employees,” Stertzer says.

If a conference committee leaves non-qualified deferred comp plans out of the minimum wage bill, the issue probably will surface later this year in a narrower bill, lobbyists predict.