Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort – in the House of Commons on 20th April 1944.
asked the Minister of Labour whether he has noted the recent Report of the Industrial Health Research Board of the Medical Research Council, which indicates that there is an increase in absenteeism and a decline in production in cases where men work for more than 60 and women 55 hours per week; whether he intends taking any action in the matter and especially that no prosecution shall be instituted by his Department against a worker for absenteeism where it is proved that he has been working for more than those number of hours.
The point mentioned in the Report is not a new one and I do not think it now calls for any special action on my part. I would remind my hon. Friend that the offence under the Essential Work Order is that of being absent from work without having a reasonable excuse and that where there is an appropriate works committee, proceedings cannot be taken until the matter has been considered by the committee. I am satisfied that these are adequate safeguards against a worker being prosecuted if he is unavoidably absent as a result of having worked excessive hours.
Does my right hon. Friend think that works committees are familiar with the Report, in which it is stated that absenteeism is caused very often through working too long hours?