Superannuation and Pensions Bill, 1962 —Report and Final Stages.

Amendment No. 1, in the name of Deputy Norton, is out of order because it proposes to impose a charge on public funds.

Bill received for final consideration.

Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

On Committee Stage, I raised with the Minister for Finance the possibility of improving the compensation payable to unestablished officers who are compelled, because of either age or health considerations, to retire from the public service. These officials are not entitled to any pensions whatever and are therefore, in such circumstances, compelled to depend on whatever they may get under the social welfare legislation and on the gratuity they get from the Department concerned. In the past, the gratuity has been based on a payment of one week's pay for each year of service. When I raised this matter on Committee Stage, I asked the Minister to examine the whole question, with a view to paying a larger gratuity because one week's pay for each year of service seems pretty small compensation, particularly in the case of people compelled to retire for health or age reasons.

The Minister met the point to some extent, and I am thankful to him, by providing that where you have 15 years service, you continue to get compensation on retirement at the rate of one week's pay for each year of service and if you have over 15 years service, then you get two weeks' pay for each year of service. That was a substantial improvement for those with long years of service but, of course, it made no difference whatever to those who had service of up to 15 years and not very much to those with between 15 and 20 years service. There is definitely a case to be made for the man with 15 or fewer years of service who is forced to retire, either on health or age grounds. While I appreciate what the Minister has done, I would ask him to reconsider the matter between now and the time the Seanad come to consider the Bill to see if it would not be possible to do something more for those with 15 years service or less and who retired in circumstances of ill health or age. I do not think it would cost very much to meet the claims of such people.

When the Bill is being considered in the Seanad, the Minister might consider a point made by Deputy Corish and to which the Minister gave a reply which was not quite correct. It related to district justices. Four of them are concerned and of two of them the Minister said that because they were acting registrars, they were closer to the courts than those in State solicitors' offices. That is not correct, as the Minister will find out if he re-checks. People in State solicitors' offices are in fact much closer to the court and should be included before those who are included as registrars. There is a far closer affinity between the work of State solicitors' offices and district justices than there is between the work of registrars and district justices. Would the Minister have a look at it before it goes to the Seanad? He will find the point I make is valid. Only two people are involved. Perhaps he would consider it?

The point raised by Deputy Tully is a matter of opinion, I suppose. I would say, myself, that a registrar is closer to the administration of court work than a State solicitor.

Who never goes into court.

However, I do not think the question arises. As far as I know, it does not arise but I shall certainly have a look at it again.

Thank you. Take my word that it does.

With regard to the unestablished civil servants who retire on a gratuity, I think the first remedy for this question is to establish as many as we can. We have been moving in that direction. There is a calculation to be made, when we take in a number, of say, inspectors for a certain purpose. There is the calculation whether it will be a temporary operation or whether they will be there for all time. Where we are satisfied they will be there for all time, then I think they should be established straight off. Usually, what is done is a compromise. A certain number are left as a sort of margin in case there should be a fall down in the work. Some could be let go and we would have the number who were established left behind. I am having that position examined in all Departments to see whether more could be established in the various grades.

That applies, as I am sure Deputies are aware, generally, to the type of case I mentioned such as inspector. It does not apply so much to the administrative grades because they are taken in by the Civil Service Commissioners and therefore are established straight off. People are, at times, recruited for a temporary situation on a temporary basis and allowed to go again. One instance of that would be the preparation of the Census every ten or five years as the case may be. Apart from that, in getting as many as we can established we then have a number left behind who are unestablished. Many of these, of course, are not initially regarded as full-time, as, for instance, auxiliary postmen. There are big numbers in that grade and, because of that, the number unestablished in the Civil Service looks very high but, when we analyse it, it is not as bad as it looks.

There are, however, many unestablished people who are full-time. In present circumstances, they would, when retiring, get the gratuity laid down. Two improvements were made in this Bill. One was to bring the period for a gratuity down to seven years from 15 years and the second, by way of amendment, was to double the gratuity in cases of service over 15 years. The position, therefore, is relatively very much improved.

It may be argued, indeed, that, even so, the sum received is still not very significantly high. It must be remembered, however, as I pointed out on Committee Stage, that all these people are entitled to social welfare allowances, retiring pensions, and so on, when they retire. That, of course, will add considerably to their income—and it will be improved next January. I should say, perhaps, it will be improved by the vote of Fianna Fáil here last night and in spite of the vote of Labour and Fine Gael.

They are paying for it themselves.

Yes, but the Deputy would not let them pay for it themselves by his vote last night.

It is not coming from Upper Mount Street but from the pockets of the people. I want to establish that.

As far as you are concerned, you would not let it go to the pockets of the people.

You test the people tomorrow.

From the people and for the people.

I think we have given as much consideration as we can at the moment to the position of the unestablished civil servants. I did, as I said, first of all legalise the position to bring the calculation down to seven years and, secondly, by way of amendment, ask the Dáil to increase the gratuity when retiring to make it two weeks for every week over 15 years. A person with long service as an unestablished officer will now get more than a year's salary when retiring.

How could he get that?

If he has long service, he will get more than a year's salary.

He will not be allowed to work more than 40 years.

He can get more than a year now.

He cannot.

I am not in a position to make the calculation just at the moment. The only other point that arises here is whether we have provided that all these people will be entitled to social welfare benefit when they are leaving and, as far as I know, that has been done. I must, therefore, put it to the Dáil that, in relation to this particular class of Bill, we cannot do any better at the moment.

I understand that the entitlement to the gratuity at the moment is governed by a condition that you cannot get more than a year's pay on retirement through the medium of this gratuity. If the new calculation should in any particular case work out that a person would appear to qualify for more than a year's pay under the new formula, will the Minister arrange that he will be able to do so?

The 40 years' period was there but, on account of giving two weeks for every year over 15, it may work out as follows. Fifteen from 40 would be 25. I am getting at the two weeks first. Twice 25 would be 50 weeks and then he would have the 15 as well, which would equal 65.

If he qualifies for more than a year's pay under this new formula, I take it he will get it?

He could qualify for more than a year's pay going out.

And he will not be limited to a year's salary as a gratuity?

The Minister will recollect that in the Department of Agriculture we used to have some hard cases. Does a retiring lady civil servant now qualify for a contributory old age pension when she leaves the service at 60 years of age? I thought the Minister said they were entitled to social welfare benefit?

They are.

Would that include a contributory old age pension, if she left the service at the age of 60?

She would not receive the contributory old age pension until 70, as well as her Civil Service pension.

As the Minister will remember, some of these persons in the Department of Agriculture had 40 years' service—I think in the Eggs and Poultry Division. We then discovered that they were being constrained to leave at 65 but there would be a hiatus as between the age of 65, the date of retirement, and the age of 70 years when they would, under this new system, have a gratuity of a year's salary but no pension.

In the cases I am personally thinking of, I believe we did succeed in getting them established and in overcoming the difficulty, but there may be others surviving. Would the Minister, now that he is dealing with this whole matter, consider is there ever a stage reached where a temporary civil servant has served so long that he or she ought to be deemed established? I think the Minister, who has been Minister for Agriculture, will agree with me that in the case of ladies who give 40 years' service being told when they are 60 that they are temporary civil servants and that they must retire without pension is a desperate hardship. Would the Minister take under consideration some rule that would permit these exceptional cases of hardship to be dealt with by providing them with some pension instead of having anad hoc battle between the Department of Agriculture and the Department for Finance trying to get such persons established. I am thinking of the case of the supervisory officers in the Eggs and Poultry Division, for whom I think we got special provision made; but I think we succeeded in getting them established just a week before they retired.

The Deputy is aware that persons can be taken into the established part of the Civil Service only through the Civil Service Commissioners. They have to do a competitive or qualifying examination. Take the case of clerical officers. They qualify a certain number. Then the number at the top of the list are called as required. Sometimes all the qualified people are not called but that cannot be helped. I think it is a very good rule that a person cannot reach an established position unless he comes through a competitive or qualifying examination. In fact, both are combined as a rule. There is the provision in exceptional cases of taking in a person in the public interest, but that applies, as a rule, only to somebody very high up.

The position arose in the past that a big number of temporary people were taken in and their work went on and on for a long time. Then they held what was called a confined examination. There are, say, 100 temporary civil servants on a particular job. A confined examination is held and we qualify and establish 40 of the best of them. Of course, again that is a qualifying examination, although in this case they have come in on a temporary basis and thus have an advantage over people outside.

They are not the fellows to whom you give reduced children's allowances in the Post Office?

That is a different question. Deputies will agree with me that if we are to increase the number established, we should insist that they should not come in except through some form of competitive or qualifying examination. The people Deputy Dillon has in mind were probably eligible to compete for the confined examination at some stage. Maybe they did not compete, or else did and were not successful. If there is a hiatus and if they go at 65—although temporary people are usually allowed to stay on until 70—they will be entitled at least to the unemployment allowance under the social welfare code.

Question put and agreed to.