Mr. VERNON DAVIES
asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that the amount of the award in the Workmen's Compensation Act is based on the average wage for the previous 12 months, so that if a man has only worked for a short time during that period his compensation award is very materially reduced; and will he arrange that this anomaly shall be remedied?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I would point out that the compensation is only computed on the average earnings during the previous 12 months in cases where the workman has been employed during that period in the employment of the same employer, which is defined to mean employment by the same employer in the grade in which the workman was employed at the time of the accident, uninterrupted by absence from work due to illness or other similar unavoidable cause If the workman has been less than 12 months in the same employment, then the earnings are calculated over the period during which he has actually been in the employment, but special provision is made to meet cases where it is impracticable owing to the short duration of the employment to arrive at a fair estimate. I am aware that in reckoning the average earnings, periods of short time due to fluctuations of trade or other circumstances which are a normal incident of the employment are included, but I see nothing anomalous in this. The governing principle of the Act is that the average weekly earnings shall be computed in such manner as is best calculated to give the rate per week at which the workman was being remunerated, and it would be clearly inconsistent with this 2303W principle if the days or weeks on which, as a result of trade conditions, he was not at work or working only short time, were excluded.