chapter  Chapter II
The Advent of State-Operated Unemployment Insurance
WithFelix Morley
Pages 10

In the decade from July, 1912, to July, 1922, seven major Acts on unemployment insurance, not to mention a number of minor ones, were brought into operation. Elasticity in any scheme of unemployment insurance is, of course, essential. The first Unemployment Insurance Act was passed by Parliament in December, 1911, and came into operation on July 15, 1912, the National Employment Exchange system being then two and one half years old. Unemployment insurance is no more a preventive of the contingency insured against than insurances against fire, sickness, or shipwreck are preventives of those risks. The early effect of the compulsory scheme was actually to encourage additional voluntary insurance. Fortunate, and yet unfortunate, for the scheme of compulsory insurance was it that the introduction coincided with a period of unusually good employment, when for more than four years unemployment nearly ceased to exist.