§ 36. Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the West Ham Board of Guardians in control of the Forest Gate Sick Home, Forest Gate, E.7, have made an order which declares that when a member of the resident staff is sick he must make a claim for sickness benefit from his approved society, and that any sickness benefit thus receivable is to be deducted from his salary; and, seeing that the terms of such order conflict with the provisions of the National Health Insurance Acts, and that the guardians are not in a position to determine the rate or amount of State sickness benefit receivable, having regard to additional cash and other benefits, and in view of the complications which must arise regarding certification and sick visitation, will he take steps to rescind the order referred to?
I understand that the guardians have extended to the whole of their officers an arrangement which was already in operation for a, part of the staff: it may be assumed, there- 1098 fore, that the guardians are able to deal with the complications to which the hon. Member refers. The guardians' arrangements do not conflict with any provisions of the National Health Insurance Acts, and I do not think there is any ground for my intervention.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the provisions of the National Health Insurance Act state definitely that this benefit shall not be taken into account by any employer in calculating the amount of wages?
I think the bon. Member is confusing wages and salaries in this case. Of course, if a man who is in receipt of wages is kept away from his work by illness, he does not then receive pay for the time he is away, but where a man is on a fixed salary, whether he is at work or not, it does not seem right that he should receive both salary and sickness benefit.
§ Mr. DAVIES
But is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the National Health Insurance Act states definitely, irrespective of wages and salary, that remuneration shall not be taken into account in the calculation?
My hon. Friend is really mistaken. I shall be happy to explain afterwards, if he cares to see me about it, that there is nothing inconsistent with the provisions of the Act.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Does not that view of the right hon. Gentleman mean that a man pays contributions to National Health Insurance in that case and receives no benefit?