HC Deb 24 November 1938 vol 341 cc1960-1W
Sir H. Morris-Jones

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that under Section 32 (i) (b) of the National Health Insurance Act of 1936 specific provision is made that sickness benefit, where otherwise payable, shall commence on the fourth day of the incapacity; and whether he will consider introducing legislation to reduce the period, in view of the hardship frequently involved to insured persons whose sickness lasts for a week or less?

Mr. Elliot

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part I would point out that payment of sickness benefit from the first day of incapacity may be made under the present law where an approved society is able to make the necessary financial provision out of a disposable surplus and the members decide to do so. Very few societies have, in fact, adopted this benefit which is a comparatively expensive one. Any general abolition of the normal waiting period of three days would require an increase in the weekly contributions. I do not think that there is any demand for such a change on the part of approved societies in general.