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Domestic Service (Juveniles)

Volume 154: debated on Wednesday 31 May 1922

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asked the Minister of Labour whether, as advisory committees on juvenile employment are statutory bodies, appointed and maintained financially by the Ministry of Labour and working under the Labour Exchanges Act, 1909, which forbids any responsibility with regard to wages or other conditions beyond supplying information as to the rate of wages desired or offered, he will cause theultra vires circular issued by the Central Advisory Committee on Juvenile Employment, laying down conditions of employment and rates of pay in private domestic service, to be withdrawn?

May I again make it clear to my hon. and gallant Friend that the class of employé here concerned is not the adult domestic servant, but the young girl under 18? When the Labour Exchanges Act was before Parliament in 1909 it was contemplated that, in dealing with juvenile applicants for employment, Exchanges would be guided and assisted by juvenile employment committees; and in February, 1910, as a result of consultation between the President of the Board of Trade (then responsible for Employment Exchanges) and the President of the Board of Education, special rules with regard to juvenile applicants were framed. The circular referred to was issued under the authority given by these special rules. Undoubtedly, however, the compulsory Unemployment Insurance Act—benefit under which may depend upon whether a young person has reasonably refused an offer of employment—creates a new set of circumstances, in consequence of which the circular may have results not originally intended. I propose, therefore, to discuss the whole matter with the London Central Juvenile Advisory Committee at an early date.