HL Deb 12 February 1947 vol 145 cc560-1

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, whether firms who, by reason of the coal shortage, having been compelled to close down or work short time, supplement unemployment benefit, thereby in whole or in part deprive their work-people of the unemployment benefit to which they would be otherwise entitled.]


My Lords, as the noble Lord is doubtless aware, claims for benefit are determined by the statutory authorities appointed for the purpose under the Unemployment Insurance Acts—namely the insurance officer, the Court of Referees and the Umpire. In accordance with past decisions of the Umpire, it can be said that if the payments made by employers are ex-gratia and are not made as one of the conditions of employment, expressed or implied, the worker can be treated as unemployed and entitled to benefit, subject to satisfaction of the ordinary conditions. If, however, the payments are made in pursuance of a condition of employment, the worker cannot be treated as unemployed. There is an exception to this rule, if the arrangement for supplementary payments by the employer has been approved by the Minister under Section 2 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1939.


I am much obliged to the noble Lord for the answer. This really means that if the payments which I have visualized are ex-gratia, there is no question that the unemployed men will be deprived of unemployment benefit?


That is so, provided that they can satisfy the other conditions.