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Night Shift Workers (Payment Of Benefits)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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5.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will make arrangements with the British Transport Commission to ensure that his Department's selection of the excluded day for purposes of National Insurance benefit shall coincide with the British Transport Commission's calculation of the first day on which the employee was absent from work.

I assume that the hon. Member has night shift workers in mind. I am satisfied that the present regulations governing the payment of National Insurance benefits to such workers are fair and reasonable. In any case, it would not be practicable to make different arrangements for different industries.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not appreciate that the consequence of that answer is that in a number of cases, including one from my own constituency of which I have sent him particulars, a worker must go two days without either pay or benefit? Would it not be appropriate that employers, particularly in nationalised industry, should be asked to follow the Ministry's own simple rule that the last day on which a man or woman works should be the day in respect of which he or she receives pay?

I am glad that the hon. Member accepts that it would be impracticable for me to alter my practice in order to adapt my regulations to conditions in a particular industry. Conditions in a particular industry are not matters for me, but should be settled by the parties directly concerned.