HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc966-7
18. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will undertake a review of sick pay schemes for manual workers.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

No, Sir. I do not think that any good purposes would be served by undertaking such a review.

Mr. Jenkins

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that almost all professional workers receive payment from their employers when they are ill, but that the majority of manual workers do not receive any such pay? Since the incidence of sickness is about three or four times as great among manual workers as among non-manual workers, is it not the case that where the need is greatest it is being least met? Will the hon. Gentleman do something about it? Will he at least get to know the facts?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

It is true, as the hon. Gentleman says, that a 1970 survey showed that fewer manual workers were in receipt of such benefits. There has not been a Government survey since then, but other surveys show that the number is increasing. However, it is better that my Department should be encouraging sick pay schemes rather than reviewing them. That is being done in various ways through the Code of Industrial Relations Practice, to which attention is being drawn all over the country, and through the work of manpower advisers who draw the situation to the attention of the firms.