HC Deb 28 September 1938 vol 339 cc3-4W

Since the beginning of unemployment insurance the Umpire has held that a worker should not be regarded as unemployed on a day which is a customary holiday at the place where he works. This rule applies whether or not the worker receives wages or any other payments for the holiday. It applies not only where the worker is employed immediately before and after the holiday but also where the holiday falls at a time when he is temporarily suspended from his employment. But if he is suspended for as long as 12 working days in addition to the holiday then he may be regarded as finally discharged and therefore as unemployed and entitled to benefit on the days of holiday. This is the "Twelve Days' Rule."

Before 1938 few workers claimed benefit in circumstances such that it was necessary for the Umpire to consider holiday payments and consequently there were no authoritative rulings on some of the questions which have arisen this year. As each question arose, therefore, a suitable claim was put before the Umpire to obtain his ruling. So far he has given two important decisions on holiday payments, namely, decisions No. 2354/1938 and No. 2569/1938. The following paragraphs summarise the rulings given in these decisions.

Decision No. 2354 /1938 rules that holiday payments made under the agreement of 12th August, 1937, in the engineering industry must be regarded as wages and that a worker who is discharged before the summer holiday and immediately on discharge receives a holiday payment under this agreement must be regarded as continuing to receive wages. Under Section 35 (6) of the 1935 Act such a worker cannot be deemed to be unemployed and must be disallowed benefit for as many days as the holiday payment represents in wages. This disallowance has effect on the days immediately following discharge, and these days may, of course, be some time before the actual holiday.

The other decision No. 2569 /1938 deals with payments made at the time of holiday. It rules that if the claimant is discharged before the holiday (or is to be regarded, under the 12 Days' Rule as finally discharged) and does not receive any holiday payment until the actual holiday then there is no disallowance on account of the holiday payment unless he receives the payment so soon after being discharged that he must be regarded as continuing to receive wages. To decide whether the claimant should be regarded as continuing to receive wages the Umpire has suggested that where wages are paid weekly an interval of a week might be held not to break continuity of the receipt of wages.