Reforms for the unemployed

Labour Exchanges Act, 1909

Details and successes

  • offices were set up to help the unemployed find work
  • 430 Labour Exchanges were operating by 1913
  • 3000 people a day were provided with work by 1914

Limitations

  • it was not compulsory for employers to register vacancies

National Insurance Act Part 2, 1911

Details and successes

  • after 1 week, an insured worker losing their job would receive 7 shillings a week, for 15 weeks
  • this scheme was contributory - employees paid 2.5 d per week, employers paid 2 d per week, state paid 3d per week
  • many trades were involved, e.g. shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, construction, iron founding and sawmilling
  • the scheme was compulsory for these trades

Limitations

  • insurance was only available in certain trades
  • cover was only guaranteed to employees in 7 trades, including: shipbuilding, construction, iron founding and sawmilling (those that suffered most often from seasonal unemployment).
  • cover was only provided for a limited time depending on contributions
  • after this point the Poor Law had to be used
  • no benefit was provided if the worker was fired for bad conduct
  • there was no provision for the worker’s family
  • when long term unemployment increased after World War One, the system began to break down - the scheme took in less money from workers than it paid out to the unemployed