"Go ndaingneófar Scéim Aoisliúntais na Múinteoirí Scoile Náisiúnta (Leasú), 1950, a rinne an tAire Oideachais le toiliú an Aire Airgeadais."
The main purpose of this amending scheme is to introduce improved superannuation terms for national teachers, with effect from the 1st January, 1950, and thus to implement the proposals which the Government made last September to the teachers' organisation. Particulars of these proposals were circulated to Deputies early in October, 1949.
It was at the time intended that women teachers should receive different terms from those to be accorded to men teachers, but, in the interval, it has been found possible to agree, I am glad to say, that both men and women teachers shall have the same superannuation conditions.
(a) annual pension based on 1/80th of average annual salary for each year of pensionable service up to a maximum of 40/80ths;
(b) a lump sum on retirement calculated at the rate of 1/30th of average annual salary for each year of pensionable service up to a maximum of 45/30ths; and
(c) in the case of those who die in the service after five years a death gratuity payable to their legal personal representatives amounting to the teacher's average annual salary or a sum calculated at the rate of 1/30th for each year of service up to a maximum of 45/30ths, whichever is the greater.
It will be recalled that the original proposal was that women teachers should not receive a lump sum, but that their pension should be calculated on the basis of 1/60th for each year of service up to a maximum of 40/60ths. The terms which the existing superannuation schemes, what I might call the old terms, provide are pension of 1/80th for both men and women teachers with no lump sum in either case and death gratuity not exceeding the annual average salary.
I have no doubt that the new conditions will be found generally acceptable to the teachers.
Paragraph 1 of the scheme gives a short title and links the scheme with the existing schemes made between 1934 and 1948 inclusive.
Paragraph 2 brings the scheme into effect on being confirmed by resolution of each House of the Oireachtas and provides specifically that those teachers who may have retired on pension from teaching since the 1st January last shall have the benefit of the new terms.
Paragraphs 3 and 4 refer to interpretation and the necessary definitions.
Paragraph 5 indicates the classes of teachers to whom this scheme applies.
"(a)" and "(b)" bring in all teachers who were actually serving on the 1st January last or who have since entered or may in future enter the service for the first time.
"(c)" gives the benefits of the scheme to a teacher who, although not teaching on the 1st January last, had not been more than a year out of the service and was not a pensioner on that date.
"(d)" provides that teachers who were already pensioners on the 1st January, 1950, and who may re-enter the service after that date, or those who were more than a year out of the service, will not receive the new terms on subsequent re-retirement unless they have completed three years' pensionable service after the 31st December, 1949. This is a reasonable precaution to ensure that existing pensioners or those not on pension who were more than a year out of the service cannot qualify for the new and greatly improved terms by reentering the service for a short period; I refer, of course, to those who had retired before the 1st January last and before reaching the age of 65.
Paragraph 6 provides for the payment of lump sum to both men and women on the lines I have already mentioned.
Paragraph 7 provides for an improved disablement gratuity to those who, because they have not ten years' service, cannot qualify for a disability pension if compelled to retire owing to ill-health. Whereas, under existing schemes, the gratuity is at the rate of 1/10th of pensionable salary for each year of service, the new scheme provides for calculation at 1/12th for each year of service with the important addition of 1/30th of pensionable salary for each year of service if the teacher has not less than two years. For existing teachers on the 1st January, 1950, who may be compelled to retire before they complete two years' pensionable service, sub-paragraph (2) maintains the right to the existing basis of calculation of 1/10th.
Paragraph 8 deals with the death gratuity on the basis I mentioned in my introductory remarks. Sub-paragraph (2) means that if a teacher who may have received a lump sum on voluntary retirement or owing to disability comes back to the service and dies whilst in the service the death gratuity shall be reduced by the amount of the lump sum. This is fully reasonable. Sub-paragraph (3) may need a little explanation. Under the existing schemes it was possible that a pensioner might die before the amount of pension drawn by him had equalled the amount of death gratuity payable in respect of him had he died in the service; in such event there was provision to pay him the difference between the two amounts. Now that a lump sum is payable on retirement, no pensioner who retires on these new terms can receive a less sum after retirement than if he had died in the service, and the sub-paragraph makes it clear that the lump sum payable to him is to be reckoned as a pension benefit.
Paragraph 9 represents improved conditions for the payment of marriage gratuity to women teachers who are compelled under the regulations to retire on marriage. At present a woman must have seven years' service, of which at least five must have been pensionable, and the gratuity is based on 1/12th for each year of pensionable service, excluding the first year. The paragraph enables the teacher to qualify for the gratuity after six years of service, of which at least four must be pensionable, and the gratuity may be calculated for each year including the first of pensionable service.
Paragraph 10 has the object of enabling the Minister to require applicants for a disability pension or gratuity to deposit the medical referee's fee—to be returned if the application is successful. I do not say that it will be found necessary to enforce this requirement but it is thought advisable to have it lest it should be found by experience that applications of this kind were being made on insufficient grounds.
Paragraph 11—paragraph 7 of the 1948 scheme—provided that service given by a teacher after reaching the age of 65 should be non-pensionable. No change was then, however, made in the period for the calculation of average annual salary which is still governed by the date of retirement and may, therefore, include a considerable period of time after 65 years of age. This was not the intention and the paragraph now provides that the teacher who gives service after 65 shall not alone have such service non-pensionable but shall not be entitled to have any post-65 service taken into account in the calculation of the amount of pension or lump sum.