§ MR. JAMES MACLEAN (Oldham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the attention of the India Office has been called to the following clause in the Factories Act 864 Amendment Bill, now before the Viceroy's Legislative Council:—Every occupier of a factory in which women and children are employed shall, before the beginning of each month, fix, according to the castes or classes to which such women or children belong or otherwise, not less than four days in each month to be observed as holidays by each woman or child employed in the factory, and shall forthwith give notice of the days so fixed to such officer as the Local Government may from time to time appoint in this behalf;whether this clause will leave it open to a millowner to give some of the women and children in his employment holidays at one time and some at another, instead of having the same four fixed holidays in each month for all without distinction; and whether, in the former case, the clause is an evasion of the instructions of Lord Cross in his telegram of 14th May, 1889, in which he said—I would provide for four days' holiday or absence per month for women as agreed upon by Bombay millowners, Bombay operatives, and Bombay Government?
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON
I have been requested by my right hon. Friend to answer this question. On the 29th of December last the Government of India telegraphed with reference to the Secretary of State's telegram of the 14th of May—After consulting Local Governments and Administrations we are of opinion that the best method of providing four holidays a month for women is to amend Section 89 of the old Act by making it applicable to women as well as to children; and as some holidays are not always appropriate to different castes and classes, to add a proviso permitting the substitution of different days in special cases.These proposals of the Government of India were approved by the Secretary of State in a telegram of the 14th of January. They provide in the most convenient manner for the four days' holiday per month ordered in the Secretary of State's telegram of the 14th of March.