I move amendment No. 44.
In page 9, Section 19 (1), to delete all words from and including the word "employment" in line 37 to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words "complete employment year of such worker during which he has been continuously in the employment of such employer and has worked in such employment not less than eighteen hundred hours.
One of the problems which gave Deputies considerable concern, in relating to Section 19 of the Bill, as well as Section 20, and which was discussed for a considerable length during the Committee Stage, was the method by which continuity of employment was to be determined. The Bill provides that a worker, who has had a year's continuous employment with an employer, is to be entitled to receive a minimum week's holiday with pay, and, also, provides that workers who have continuous employment for lesser periods will receive additional pay in lieu of the holidays which only becomes due if a year's work is performed. Every Deputy saw circumstances, under which the continuity of a worker's employment might be interrupted, perhaps deliberately interrupted by unscrupulous employers for the purpose of evading the obligations of the Act. At the same time, such difficulty in the way of providing a satisfactory definition of continuity, which would preserve the essential principle that a year's work should be done, before the obligation to provide holidays arose, was very considerable, and no Deputy had a suggestion as to how that could be overcome. I have given the matter very considerable attention since I believe the best way to meet all points of view is to allow a certain amount of latitude in the matter of determining continuity by defining a year's work as the performance within that year of so many hours of work; a number of hours which will permit a certain amount of broken time, to a certain extent interruption of the day to day continuity of the employment, but not of sufficient length to actually break that continuity. We are proposing, therefore, to amend sub-section (1) of Section 9 in a manner which will impose upon each employer the obligation of giving one week's annual holiday, with pay in the case where the year's work has been performed, in each "complete employment year of such worker during which he has been continually in the employment of such employer and has worked in such employment not less than 1,800 hours." Deputies well know that in the other amendment continuity of employment would be periods as calculated in the same way; in other words, there must be 75 per cent. continuity in order to qualify for the week's holiday or a day's pay for a period of two months.
The next amendment deals with the shorter periods. That particular method of determining what constitutes continual employment is one that will cause less difficulty. I do not say that there will be no difficulty, but it will be a case of less difficulty than in any of the other methods suggested. If a worker is employed continuously by an employer for a year, he is entitled to holidays and by continuously employed is meant employed for 1,800 hours during the course of that year. That, as I explained, will preserve the right of the workers to holidays even though because of slackness the work was interrupted during the year or because of reasons of one kind or another the workers' employment may have been interrupted by a day or two, or a week in the course of the year. It also will enable the worker to protect his right to holidays, though in periods of trade depression, such as certain industries have known in the past, that worker was only employed for a certain number of days in the week rather than a full week, and so forth. The amount of employment we think that should be required to enable the worker to prove his claim of being continuously employed, is 75 per cent. of the normal hours any worker might be employed under the other conditions of the Bill. In the following amendment we propose to employ the same method to determine what constitutes continuous employment for the shorter periods, and in each case the same percentage is being observed.