HC Deb 30 November 1939 vol 355 cc220-1
11. Dr. Edith Summerskill

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to the action of the French Government in giving a statutory holiday of four days to the war-working wives of men in the Forces during their husbands' leave; and whether he will make a similar order?

Mr. E. Brown

I understand that a decree of the French Government relating to working conditions during hostilities contains a provision on the lines of that referred to in the first part of the question, the days being deducted from the length of the annual legal holiday. The special holiday has, as far as possible, to be taken in association with the weekly rest day, and it can be stopped altogether if the woman is employed on Defence work. In this country questions of holidays are settled by negotiation or by statutory wage-regulating authorities, and not by Ministerial order. I do not think that special legislation is necessary, and I feel sure that, where desired, special arrangements would be made by employers to meet such circumstances.