§ MR. JOHN BURNS
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the paragraph in the Order in Council conceding the fortnightly half-holiday is intended to be construed as not applying to a case in which the Department is assured year by year of a prolonged influx of work; and whether, without an increase of staff or an extension of in working hours, a Department is justified suspending for successive weeks the half-holiday conceded in the Order in Council, as has been done in the Art Division of the Science and Art Department, South Kensington?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Sir J. T. HIBBERT, Oldham)
I consider it essential that it should be left to the heads of a Department to decide whether periods of pressure are so recurrent or continuous that such pressure cannot properly be met without an increase of staff and consistently with the intention of the Order in Council, which sanctions an alternate Saturday half-holiday only on the express condition that the heads of Departments are satisfied that the state of public business will permit. In the present case, I am assured that the suspensions of such alternate half-holidays have been casual and temporary, and I am unable to see any reason for interference with the discretion of the heads of the Department.