Seats for Shop Assistants Act 1899

The Seats for Shop Assistants Act 1899 is a piece of legislation produced by the Parliament of the United Kingdom that attempted to combat the practice of retail employers expecting their female employees to stand for long periods (at the time a typical working day could be longer than twelve hours) by providing at least one seat for every three female employees.[4] The act also prescribed a fine for not complying of up to three pounds for a first offence, and a fine between one and five pounds for a second offence.[2]

Seats for Shop Assistants Act 1899
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for Seats being supplied for the use of Shop Assistants
Introduced by2 May 1899 (Commons)
12 June 1899[1] (Lords)
Dates
Commencement1 January 1900[2]
Repealed1 May 1912[3]
Other legislation
Repealed byShops Act 1912[3]
Status: Repealed

The "Seats for Shop Assistants (Scotland) Bill" was drafted by the Scottish Council for Women's Trades,[5] and introduced as a private member's bill by MP John McAusland Denny,[6] first read in the House of Commons on 21 February 1899 and had its second reading on 12 April where it was debated.[7] The bill was amended over the next two weeks and had its first reading in the House of Lords on 27 April, but at the second reading in the Lords on 4 May it was opposed by Alexander Shand, 1st Baron Shand and Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury and the bill was dropped.[8]

However earlier that week a similar bill had been introduced into the House of Commons by MP John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury that would apply to England and Wales.[9][10] During the committee stage MP Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet proposed that the bill be amended to also cover Scotland.[11] The bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on 11 July where it was moved by Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster and debated extensively.[12] Lord Shand and the Prime Minister again argued against it, however, the second reading was put to a vote and almost three-quarters of the Lords voted in favour.[13]

This act was repealed by the Shops Act 1912 which incorporated an updated version of the text, that still required a seat for every three employees, and still prescribed the same level of fines.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "SEATS FOR SHOP ASSISTANTS (ENGLAND AND IRELAND) BILL. (Hansard, 12 June 1899)". Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "The Public General Acts passed in the Sixty-Second and Sixty-Third Years of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria; being the Fifth Session of the Twenty-Sixth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". 1899. Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c The Public General Acts Passed in the Second and Third Years of the Reign of His Majesty King George the Fifth. His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 1913. Retrieved 25 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Lucy Lethbridge (3 August 2014). "Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter review – 'rich in surprising insights'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Irwin, Margaret (1 July 1899). "The Shop Seats Bill Movement". Fornightly Review. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  6. ^ Emily Janes (ed.). The Englishwoman's Year Book 1900. Adam & Charles Black.
  7. ^ "SEATS FOR SHOP ASSISTANTS (SCOTLAND) BILL. (Hansard, 12 April 1899)". Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "SEATS FOR SHOP ASSISTANTS (SCOTLAND) BILL. (Hansard, 4 May 1899)". Hansard 1803 - 2005. Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Horatio Gordon Hutchinson (1914). Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. London, Macmillan and co.
  10. ^ "SEATS FOR SHOP ASSISTANTS (ENGLAND AND IRELAND) BILL. (Hansard, 2 May 1899)". Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "SEATS FOR SHOP ASSISTANTS (ENGLAND AND IRELAND) BILL. (Hansard, 8 June 1899)". Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Gervas Huxley (1967). Victorian duke: the life of Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, first Duke of Westminster. Oxford University Press.
  13. ^ "SECOND READING. (Hansard, 11 July 1899)". Retrieved 26 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)