§ MR. STEADMAN
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that a number of labourers employed at Deptford Victualling Yard are allowed to absent themselves from their employment on sick leave for periods ranging from four to sixteen weeks each year, during the whole of which time the men concerned are working for private employers; whether he will take action to prevent similar abuses in the future; and whether he will state the number of men who were absent from their duties at Deptford Victualling Yard during the last financial year for more than 21 days each?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
There is no reason to suspect that the facts are as alleged in the Question. Twelve labourers employed in the Victualling Yard were on the sick list during the past financial year for periods of four weeks and upwards, and the nature of their complaints in the majority of cases would seem to preclude the possibility of their working as suggested. Any labourer wilfully remaining on the sick list when fit to resume work at the yard would render himself liable to dismissal. It may be added that labourers are not allowed any portion of their pay when absent on account of 207 sickness. The number of labourers absent from the Victualling Yard during 1898–9 for more than 21 days each was 43. Each man is entitled by the regulations to be absent without pay for 14-days annually, which may be increased in special cases.