§ 38 Mr. BUTCHER
asked the Secretary to the Treasury (38) whether, in the case where husband and wife are living together and the husband is the employer of the domestic servants, the husband is the person legally liable to stamp the insurance cards and to pay the weekly contributions in respect of such servants; and whether, in case of his failure to do so, he is for each offence liable to a penalty not exceeding £10 and to other consequences; (39) whether, in the case where husband and wife are living together and the husband is the employer of the domestic servants, there is any presumption of law by which the wife is legally liable to stamp the insurance card and to pay the weekly contributions in respect of such servants, and in default of her so doing to pay a penalty not exceeding £10; and, if so, whether he will refer to any recognised legal authority in support of the proposition; and (40) whether, in the case where husband and wife are living together and the husband is the employer of the domestic servants, and the contributions in respect of such servants are not paid, the wife is in any case liable to a penalty of £10 for such non-payment or to pay the unpaid contributions; if so, whether he will state under what circumstances the wife is so liable; and, if the wife is not so liable, whether he will give immediate orders for the withdrawal of official explanatory Leaflet No. 21, as being inaccurate and misleading?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
In the case stated in the first question, the husband is the person legally liable for the payment of the contributions and the stamping of the cards. The actual affixing of the stamps may be performed by the wife or other agent. If the stamps are not duly affixed the husband is liable. The answer to the second question is in the negative. Leaflet 21 is obviously a popular exposition of the 1854 duties of employers of domestic servants, and in practice the duties will clearly be carried out by the wife, whether she is in fact herself the employer or the agent for her husband. Where the mistress is legally liable to pay the contributions (i.e., where she is the employer), she, and not the husband, would be subject to the penalty if the stamps were not affixed.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
In view of that answer, will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Law Officers as to whether this popular leaflet is even approximately accurate?
§ Mr. BUTCHER
As this is important, may I ask, if the husband is the employer, is there any case in which the wife will be liable to a penalty?