§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
asked whether occupiers of laundries, under the Factory Act, 1907, have notified their intention to employ hands on any statutory holiday during 1909; whether the holidays substituted therefor include any day on which, under section 2 of the said Act, an allowance of time off corresponding to hours worked is specified; whether that arrangement will deprive the hands of 1143 three hours' holiday for each day so substituted; and whether, under these circumstances, such substituted days are being accepted by the factory department as, whole holidays?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Gladstone)
There are no days definitely fixed by Statute, so far as regards England and Wales, on which holidays are to be given in factories and workshops. The occupier is at liberty to select his own days. I am not in a position to say in how many cases laundries work on the general holidays, that is, Good Friday, Christmas Day, and the Bank Holidays; but I understand that it is not uncommon in London, at any rate, to work on Good Friday. As regards the second part of the question, I have only been able, as the question did not appear on the Paper till yesterday morning, to make inquiry as regards some of the London districts. It appears that in some few cases holidays have been fixed on days for which the period of employment has been shortened under section 2 (a) of the Act of 1907. The result of that would be that the actual holiday time gained by the worker would be shorter by the amount by which the period of employment had been shortened, which might be three hours or might be less. I may point out, however, that though the workers may lose a little in this way, they are better off than under the ordinary overtime system, inasmuch as the hours of work on the whole are less. The Department has no power to refuse to recognise holidays fixed on a shortened day.