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Factory Acts

Belongs to subject Industrial and factory sanitation

The early Acts concentrated on regulating the hours of work and moral welfare of young children employed in cotton mills but were effectively unenforced until the Act of 1833 established a professional Factory Inspectorate. The regulation of working hours was then extended to women by an Act of 1844. The Act specified that this should be done every working day within usual working hours but did not state how much time should be set aside for it. The Act was to be displayed in two places in the factory. III c66) stated that no children under 9 were to be employed and that children aged 9–16 years were limited to 12 hours' work per day. An amending Act (60 Geo. Hobhouse's Bill also sought to limit hours worked to eleven a day; the Act as passed (the Cotton Mills Regulation Act :6 Geo. The Act repealed the previous Acts, and consolidated their provisions in a single Act, which also introduced further restrictions. The limitation of working hours to twelve now applied up to age eighteen. Nonetheless, the Commission reportedthat mill children did work unduly long hours, leading to

Permanent deterioration of the physical constitution: The Factory Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. Children (ages 9–13) must not work more than 8 hours with an hour lunch break. Children (ages 14–18) must not work more than 12 hours a day with an hour lunch break. Three of the four inspectors had recommended in their first report that all children 12 or older should be allowed to work twelve hours a day. Otherwise, the bill made no changes to age limits or hours of work, but repealed the education clauses of the 1833 Act, replacing them with literacy tests. The Factory Bill provided that children were now not to work more than seven hours a day; if working before noon they couldn't work after one p.m. There were two significant differences; the working day for children was reduced to six and a half hours, and the minimum age for factory work would be reduced to eight. In 1844 Graham again introduced a Bill to bring in a new Factory Act and repeal the 1833 Factory Act. 9–13 years could work for 9 hours a day with a lunch break. Women and young people now worked the same number of hours. They could work for no more than 12 hours a day during the week, including one and a half hours for meals, and 9 hours on Sundays. The new Cabinet contained supporters and opponents of a ten-hour day and Lord John himself favoured an eleven-hour day. Each work week contained 63 hours effective 1 July 1847 and was reduced to 58 hours effective 1 May 1848. The work week was extended from 58 hours to 60 hours. A further Act of 1853 set similar limits on the hours within which children might work.

In 1867 the Factories Act was extended to all establishments employing 50 or more workers by another Factories Act Extension Act. It recommended consolidation of legislation by a single new Act. Within that window: in factories two hours should be allowed for meals and no work session should exceed four and a half hours; in workshops work sessions should not exceed five hours and meal breaks should total at least one and a half hours. The Factory and Workshop Act 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. Factories fell into two types;

'textile factories' - those within the scope of the 1874 Act 'non-textile factories' - workplaces carrying out a number of specified processes ((textile) print works, bleaching and dyeing works, earthenware works (excluding brickworks), lucifer match works, percussion cap works, cartridge works, paper staining works, fustian cutting works, blast furnaces, copper mills, iron mills, foundries, metal and india-rubber works, paper mills, glass works, tobacco factories, letterpress printing works, bookbinding works) and additionally any workplace in which mechanical power was used (replacing the former distinction between factory and workshop on the basis on the number of employees) The Act followed the recommendations of the Commission by setting a limit of ​56 ⁄ hours on the hours worked per week by women and young persons in textile factories, 60 hours in non-textile factories and workshops (except domestic workshops, where there was no restriction on the working hours of women), but allowing greater flexibility on how those hours were worked for non-textile factories and workshops. Half-time' could be achieved by splitting each day between school and work, or (unless the child worked in a domestic workshop) by working and attending school on alternate days. No child should work a half-day on successive Saturdays. The Factory and Workshop Act 1883 (46 & 47 Vict. The main article gives an overview of the state of Factory Act legislation in Edwardian Britain under the Factory and Workshop Acts 1878 to 1895 (the collective title of the Factory and Workshop Act 1878, the Factory and Workshop Act 1883, the Cotton Cloth Factories Act 1889, the Factory and Workshop Act 1891 and the Factory and Workshop Act 1895.)

The 1937 Act (1 Edw. This Act consolidated the 1937 and 1959 Acts.

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