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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr HOLLOWAY (Melbourne Ports) .- I direct the attention of the Government, and particularly of the Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen;, to the fact that, although for the last five or six years conventions have been issued from the International Labour Office recommending the granting of holiday leave on full pay to all employees, the. Public Works Branch of the Department of the Interior still denies this concession to the relatively few manual workers whom it employs. I believe that this is almost the last public department of any progressive country in the world to refuse its manual workers at least ten days' leave on full pay. I have made representations to the Government on this subject on a number of occasions, but so far without success. I brought the matter under the notice of the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) two or three times when he was Minister for the Interior, and 1 now ask the present Minister (Mr. McEwen) to give favorable consideration to the proposal. I believe that very few men are involved - probably only three or four in the whole of Victoria - but as these officers have worked for a number of years for the Government, they are entitled to this consideration. What I desire is that every person employed by the Government on manual work who has twelve months' unbroken service to his credit shall be granted not less than ten days' leave on full pay.. The last big public undertaking in Australia to adopt this reform was, I believe, the Electricity Commission of Victoria, which now grants every one of its numerous employees ten days' leave on full pay. The Public Works Branch of the Department of the Interior is the only Commonwealth department which still refuses to adopt this practice. I cannot understand the reason which actuates it in doing so. Practically every big company in Australia, including the gas companies, give their employees not less than a week's annual leave on full pay in addition to the gazetted holidays I trust, therefore, that the Minister for the Interior will review the departmental decision in this respect. I am informed that only a few electricians, maintenance engineers, and gangers are likely to be involved. As these men have given good service to the Commonwealth, some of them for a number of years, they should be allowed a proper holiday on full pay.

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