HC Deb 16 August 1909 vol 9 cc1061-2W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether occupiers of factories and workshops, permitted to vary the overtime period so that it may fall either before or after ordinary hours, may keep their employés at work till 10 p.m. one day and restart them at 6 a.m. on the following day; whether, if this be so, he will state if the Factory Department considers that Section 60, Sub-section (4), of the Factory and Workshop Act, 1901, means that an overtime notice must be sent to the inspector only after the overtime has been worked; if these are now the interpretations placed on Sections 49 and 60 by the Factory Department, would he state when the Department came to its present views regarding these sections; and whether he proposes, when he next considers an Amendment to the Factory and Workshop Law, to alter them so as to secure an adequate rest for workpeople between two days' labour, and a notice of intention to work overtime being sent to the inspector in order that, should he deem it advisable, he could visit the factory during the overtime period?


The terms of the statute would allow an occupier to act in the manner suggested in the first para- graph of the question, but I have never heard of such a thing being done. I do not quite understand the point raised by the hon. Member in the second paragraph. The requirements of Section 60 (4) is that the overtime notice must be sent to the inspector not later than eight p.m. on the day on which the overtime is worked; the overtime may be worked either in the morning or from six to eight, or from seven to nine, or from eight to ten in the evening. It is only in the last case that the notice has to be sent before overtime begins; and in very few instances, if any, would a notice sent at eight reach the inspector in time to enable him to inspect during the overtime. The interpretation placed upon Section 49 by the Department has, I am informed, frequently been acted on in the past; and no evidence of any abuse has come to the notice of the Department. I am afraid that the suggestion to amend the law so as to require the overtime notice to be sent so as to reach the inspector in time to enable him to visit during the overtime would present difficulties; it would in many cases mean that the notice would have to be sent on the previous day, whereas a large proportion of the overtime actually worked is on occasions of sudden pressure, of which no long notice could be given. I will, however, note the hon. Member's suggestions, and when an opportunity occurs will consider whether the law can be so amended as to prevent even a possibility of the overtime privilege being abused.