asked the Minister of Labour if the priniple has been definitely established that a nurse, unemployed because she is waiting for a case, is not automatically entitled, although a regular weekly payer under the National Insurance Act, to unemployment relief; whether he is aware that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction on the point among nurses; and whether he will now make a definite declaration of official policy?
The question whether a nurse waiting for a case is eligible for benefit depends on the circumstances, and will be determined, in any case of doubt, by the machinery provided by the Act, namely, the insurance officer, with the right of appeal to the Court of Referees and the Umpire. If dissatisfaction is felt with any decision of the insurance officer the proper course is to appeal to the Court of Referees. The Department will afford every facility for such an appeal and will arrange for a further appeal to the Umpire if this appears to be necessary or desirable.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it highly unsatisfactory that a nurse who is waiting for a case should be deprived of relief? Is it not highly improper to take this money from nurses who are ill-paid?
If the nurse is in receipt of an annual salary and is merely waiting for a case, but is not unemployed in the sense that she is receiving assistance, I do not think she is rightly eligible to unemployment benefit, but if in fact she is waiting for a case and out of unem- ployment and not receiving any retaining fee or salary or income of any sort, then she is entitled to benefit.