asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if she will amend the unemployment regulations to meet the case where a person, having been unemployed for a period, takes a job with a firm shortly before their annual holidays, is unable to get alternative work, and is refused unemployment benefit during his enforced holiday without pay.
No, Sir. I do not think unemployment benefit should be paid for the normal holidays, whether paid or unpaid, that go with a job. Special provision already exists to help the worker who changes his job and is required in the course of a year to take unpaid holidays in excess of what is customary or recognised in his current employment.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that thousands of workmen change their jobs during the year and, unfortunately, take employment with a firm which is about to hold its annual holiday? Will she not consider this case again, having a fresh look at it to see whether she can bring some human feeling into the regulations?
I can assure my hon. Friend that I have given the matter a great deal of consideration. Indeed, it has been before the National Insurance Advisory Committee, which came to the conclusion that the Unemployment Fund could not be used for this purpose. I have looked at the matter from another point of view. The building trade worker continually changes his job, sometimes many times a year, and there is special provision, about which my hon. Friend may know, which provides him with holiday pay when the holiday comes. It seems that an extension of that kind of provision would be very much better.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that certain workers who are employed in both the building industry and the shipping industry and who transfer from one industry to the other are particularly affected by this situation? Will she look at the position because previously it has not been fully gone into?
I am always ready to look at any point which is brought forward, but the important thing to remember is that this is unemployment benefit and that there ought to be other arrangements of the type that have been described. But I will certainly look into it.