DÁIL IN COMMITTEE. - UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BILL, 1924 (THIRD STAGE).

Sections 1, 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 4.
(1) Section 7 of the Act of 1923 is hereby repealed.
(2) The Minister for Defence shall out of monies to be provided by the Oireachtas, pay to the Minister for the credit of the Unemployment Fund such contributions for each person to whom this section applies as are necessary to secure that there are not less than twenty-four contributions to the credit of such person in respect of each insurance year during which, or part of which, such person has been a person to whom this section applies.
(3) This section applies to every person enlisted in the military forces of Saorstát Eireann, for a period of service which terminates on or before the 29th day of June, 1924, who in respect of employment before the date of enlistment has had paid for him under the Unemployment Insurance Acts either twenty contributions at any time or ten contributions since the 8th day of November, 1920.
(4) The sums to be paid in each year by the Minister for Defence to the Minister under this section shall be ascertained and paid at such times and in such manner as may be agreed between the Minister for Defence and the Minister.

I beg to move amendment 1 to this section:—

In sub-section (2) to delete all words after the word "that" in line 49 to the end of the sub-section and substitute therefor as follows:—

"each such person shall be credited in respect of the period during which he has been a person to whom this section applies such number of contributions as is the nearest integral equivalent of the sums which would have been paid in respect of him as employed person's contribution and State contribution, but not as employer's contribution, if he had continued to be employed in an insurable occupation during the whole of the period aforesaid."

This amendment has relation to the position of members of the National Army who have been demobilised. In discussing the Bill last year, objection was made when a proposal was put forward from these Benches regarding the Unemployment Insurance of keeping soldiers in benefit. The objection made was that the ordinary relations between employer and employed should not appertain in respect to the State and its armed forces. It is, as a consequence of the position taken up by the Ministry then, that this amendment seeks to impose upon the State a liability for paying the State share and the employed person's share of the ordinary insurance contribution. In general, it really means about two out of three contributions, but it is drafted in such a way as to embody the employed person's contribution and the State's contribution, leaving out the employer's contribution. It seeks, in fact, to add to the number of contributions which the soldier has credited to him according to his service in the Army. That stands, roughly, in the relation of two to three. If he serves three weeks then he would have two weeks' contributions. The State, as a matter of fact, provides clothing, food and medical attendance while the man is serving, and I think it is not an unreasonable suggestion that it should also provide insurance against unemployment after that person has been demobilised.

The position created by the Bill is that a soldier might receive up to 24, or even 48, contributions if he had served two insurance years, but these are not additions to his credits. He would only get credit such as would bring him up to those figures. He must have had at least ten contributions to his credit before he gets anything, so that the maximum addition is from 14 to 38 contributions.. If he has already got 24 or 48 according to the number of years served, he will get no addition whatever by the scheme of the Bill, but under the amendment all the soldier's previous contributions will remain with him, with the addition of two weeks out of three. That is in fact, what it means. I think the case should be readily understood if I say that the proposal is to make the State liable for the insured person's contributions during all the time he is in the service, minus the employer's share. In the ordinary way the State pays 6¾d., the employer 10d., and the employed person 9d. The proposal is, that while in the service of the State, the soldier should receive credit for the 9d. and the 6¾d., leaving unprejudiced the position that was taken up by the Ministry last year, which was that the State would not act in the relation of employer to a soldier. I beg to move the amendment.

This alteration, if accepted, would lead to great complication in the administration of the Act, and in the greater percentage of cases would not be as advantageous to the soldier as the proposal in the Bill. A little detail is necessary to show that. Payments, by way of contributions, are made up in this way: The employer pays 10d., the employed person 9d., and the State 6d. and the one-third of a penny. This proposition is, roughly, that the 10d. be not paid, but that the 9d. and 6d. and one-third of a penny be paid. That is to say, that the 1s. 3d., plus the one-third of a penny, be paid for every insurable person during the period of employment. That is the real meaning of this amendment, but that 1s. 3d., plus the one-third of a penny, is only equal to a fractional portion of the total contributions. It would take 39 of these proposed contributions to make up the 24 contributions proposed under the Bill—that is to say that 39 of these would only be equal to the 24 which is the proposal in the Bill.

These thirty-nine contributions have to be taken in reference to the normal period of service of the ordinary soldier. Thirty-nine contributions would be about as advantageous as the twenty-four to a person who had nine months' service. To a person with over nine months' service the proposal would be better, and to a person with less service the proposal would be decidedly worse. For a person who served for a period in each of two insurance years the proposal in the Bill is decidedly more advantageous than the proposal in the amendment. It is a fact that most of the men's service was under nine months. If those figures are realised and accepted—and I would like to have them examined and checked—they will show that it takes thirty-nine contributions to equal the twenty-four of the Bill, and that these thirty-nine will be only advantageous to people who have more than nine months' service in an insurance year. The great majority of the National forces did not operate longer than nine months. This is less advantageous to the big majority of soldiers and would cause immense difficulty in the administration of the Act. For that reason I urge against the acceptance of the amendment.

I quite appreciate the point which the Minister has made, that I should not press this amendment if it is going to be of less advantage to the soldier. I think, however, that the Minister has overlooked the fact that under the scheme in the Bill the soldier will not get any contributions credited to him unless he had some already credited before he joined. In the proposal in the amendment he will receive credit whether he was already insured or not, and that makes all the difference to the Minister's argument. Under the proposal in the amendment the fact that he is in the Army brings him into an insurable occupation, and while I would much have preferred to have proposed full credit I deferred to the Minister's decision, or, rather, that of his predecessor last year, and eliminated the employer's contribution. Far from the proposal being less advantageous I think in fact it ensures that all soldiers leaving the Army would be leaving the Army in insurance. Under the proposal of the Bill unless he were already an insured person when joining the Army he would not be in benefit. I think I am right in that. If that is a correct statement of the case, I submit that the proposal in the amendment is distinctly better than that in the Bill, and that a large number of men who have left the Army and find themselves not only without Army pay and without employment but without insurance, would have their grievance met to some extent by bringing them under insurance.

I dealt mainly with the more technical point in the amendment. Deputy Johnson is accurate in saying that if his amendment were accepted, inasmuch as it would ensure that every soldier leaving the Army would reckon as a person previously in an insurable occupation whether he was or not, it would be highly advantageous to the soldier. That, however, rather comes under the next amendment and deals with another sub-section. I was not referring to it here, but I have an answer to it, namely, that we maintain that ten contributions are necessary. I hope to maintain that later. Even regarding the reduction of ten contributions Deputy Johnson is not quite accurate. He says that there are only twenty-four to be made up, and that as ten are required there will really be only fourteen. That is not accurate. If, say, four of these ten contributions are necessary in a particular insurance year, in which insurance year the soldier enlisted, these four would be deducted to that extent. The soldier's maximum benefit by way of contribution would be twenty. Take the man who had ten stamps to his credit, say, in the last months of 1920 or in the earlier months of 1921, and had no further stamps to his credit since. He will benefit to the extent of twenty-four contributions in respect of each year in the Army. While my figures are, to some extent, disturbed by what Deputy Johnson says, I think that that answer disturbs his figures still further. I may not be quite accurate in this statement.

I may not be accurate either.

I submit that Deputy Johnson is entirely inaccurate. My figures are slightly disturbed, but those of Deputy Johnson are on a wrong basis, in so far as this amendment deals with insurance and as to whether a soldier on leaving the Army is considered in an insurable occupation or not. I am dealing with that later. In so far as the Bill seeks to put the soldier in a better position by increased contributions I submit, notwithstanding the point about the further reduction of the ten contributions, that the soldier is in a better position by this clause of ours than by the proposal in the amendment.

Amendment put and negatived.

I propose the following amendment:—

Before sub-section (4) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(4) The Minister may apply this section to any person to whom in his opinion it would have applied but for the fact that the person had not had the requisite number of contributions paid in respect of him by reason of his being below the insurable age, or of his not being employed before enlistment solely in an insurable occupation, or of his having been employed before enlistment in an excepted employment, or by reason of a failure on the part of an employer to pay contributions due in respect of him, or of any other cause which the Minister may deem sufficient ground for applying the section in order to prevent hardship."

This raises the question which the Minister has assured us he is going to meet effectively. The amendment is, perhaps, a little detailed and difficult to follow, and it leaves the discretion very largely with the Minister. It is framed in that form because it has been found very difficult to draft what one might speak of as a mandatory provision.

There were many soldiers who joined about the insurable age, or shortly afterwards but had not been in insurable employment. There are, in addition to those cases of soldiers who joined the Army before they became insured, the cases of those people who were in certain occupations such as agriculture, horticulture or gardening, who would not be insured, and who are now, after demobilisation, unemployed. This amendment would allow the Minister to bring them into insurance. There are cases of men who were working for local authorities, or public companies, or railway companies, who were not in insurable employment. There were a considerable number of such men in the employment of local authorities, because it was considered by county councils and rural councils in many cases that they ought not to pay insurance for their workmen, and their cards were not, in consequence, stamped.

Then, of course, there are many cases of men whose cards were not stamped by their employers and no pressure was applied by the men to ensure that their cards would be stamped. It is true that the men had a remedy by legal action, but in many cases, or at least in some cases, the old employer could not pay, in some cases he does not exist any longer, and in some cases he is quite outside the region of pressure. I think the case is a reasonable one that the Minister should be in a position to bring into insurance a soldier who, for one reason or another has not been in an insurable occupation or who, having been in an insurable occupation, was not credited with any contributions. I think it is reasonable that the Minister should be in a position to bring that person into insurance, so that the benefit of this section would apply even to persons who were not hitherto insured and had not to their credit the ten contributions which are required by the Bill.

The Minister will find, I think, that if he will agree to this amendment he will remove a very great grievance on the part of a very considerable number. He knows that many questions have been put to him, that many complaints have been made from all parts of the country by men who thought that they were insured, who were convinced that they were being kept in insurance or placed in insurance, and that they had come out of the Army with credit in the Insurance Fund. Those men have been sorely disappointed, and many of them are of a type that ought not to be allowed to be entirely at the mercy of charity or worse. I would urge upon the Minister the necessity of accepting this amendment or some such amendment and allowing men of that classification to be brought into insurance.

Administratively this amendment is very repellent, because it would involve the Minister, would put him in this position that he would have to admit to the benefit of the Unemployment Insurance Scheme all soldiers, or take upon his shoulders the responsibility of keeping them out.

I would rather admit every soldier.

I agree. That is a suggestion that might be contended for if there was no financial consideration, and also if this was a Bill which was not founded on the principle of insurance. One portion of the amendment keeps on the highway of insurance, and is away from the rather relief type of the rest of the amendment. And I submit to Deputy Johnson that a particular phrase in the proposal of the Bill meets his point. I deal with this one detail first. The phrase in the amendment is that the section should apply to any person who "by reason of a failure on the part of an employer to pay contributions in respect of him" has suffered. The actual phrase in the Bill which I set in contrast to that is line 4: "This section applies to every person, etc., who in respect of employment before the date of enlistment." If there are people who had been in an insurable occupation, and for whom stamps should have been put on cards, and for whom stamps were not in fact put, that error can be rectified still, and such persons are within the scope of the proposal of the Bill. It is "in respect of employment before the date of enlistment." It does not say "in respect of stamps previously put on," but "in respect of employment before the date of enlistment."

What the section says is that it applies to every person "who in respect of employment before the date of enlistment has had paid for him under the Unemployment Insurance Act twenty contributions," etc. If the employer did not pay, then that person does not come under this section. He is excluded.

Yes, if that state of things continues. But if the employer has not paid, and the error is now discovered, that error can be rectified, and the person's case be made quite clear. If a person should have had ten stamps to his credit since the 8th November, 1920, and has in fact not got them, and if that error be discovered and proof given that the stamps should be there, then those stamps, when put on, will entitle the person to come under the benefit set out in the Bill.

Does the Minister say that if those contributions should have been paid, then the person will come into benefit? Or does he say that if the employer has been compelled to pay, then he will come into benefit? Because I suggest that there will be many cases where it will be found impossible to compel the employer to pay.

That is where I break down. All I say to Deputy Johnson is that the employer can be required to pay.

Four years is a long time.

We can go back on them. If there are any exceptional cases of hardship, any great number of definite cases of hardship imposed upon people by reason of the failure of employers to pay, then we may see how such a situation is to be met. But I do not see any such hardship arising in any great number of cases. We can compel the employers to pay.

Supposing there are only ten cases; for those ten persons the hardships are just as great as though there were 10,000.

I am not clear that even ten cases are going to arise.

They have arisen.

They may have, but they can be rectified now.

The employer is dead.

That, of course, would be a definite block. I do not know whether assets can be followed in such a case. That is a point I can consider later. It has not appeared to those connected with the carrying out of the Employment Insurance Act that that type of case is likely to present any difficulty.

May I ask the Minister on that point whether the insurance is contributory? Supposing there has been failure on the part of the employer, is there also failure on the part of the employee to contribute?

The onus is on the employer.

But you cannot follow the employer for the joint amount.

If a soldier had been in insurable employment and had not his card stamped, would he be entitled to buy the stamps now and put them on himself?

Deputy Good raised a rather important question which I would like the Minister to answer. In case of omission to stamp cards at the time of payment of wages, and if arrears are demanded at a later stage, is it, or is it not, a fact that the employer is bound to pay the whole of the contribution, both his own and the work-man's?

The principal Act is the Act of 1920, Section 24, sub-section (1) of which states:

"Where an employer has failed or neglected to pay any contributions which under this Act he is liable to pay in respect of any employed persons in his employment, or has failed or neglected to comply, in relation to any such person, with the requirements of any regulations relating to the payment and collection of contribution" ... the onus is on the employer.

That is not exactly a parallel case. In a number of these claims there is a question as to whether the employee comes within the Act. In fact, I am not sure that this amendment will not increase that difficulty because of the wording of the proposed sub-section:—

"The Minister may apply this section to any person to whom in his opinion it would have applied but for the fact that the person had not had the requisite number of contributions ...."

I only point that wording out to show the ambiguity that very often arises under this Act. If by reason of such ambiguity as to whether the person came within the Act or not the Act was not complied with, that would not be a case of neglect, and I doubt if it would come under the provision of this particular Act at all.

I do not know if I have satisfied Deputy Good, but I hope I have satisfied Deputy Johnson on that particular point, that the onus is on the employer.

"In case of neglect"— that is the wording of the opening statement.

As a matter of fact, this particular section (Section 24 of the Act of 1920) goes on in a more stringent way. It states:

"If by reason thereof that person has lost in whole or in part the Unemployment Benefit to which he would have been entitled under this Act he shall be entitled to recover, summarily, from the employer as a civil debt a sum equal to the amount of the Unemployment Benefit so lost."

I would like to call attention to a further point in regard to this phrase: "Who in respect of employment before the date of enlistment..." The Act of last year, dealing with the question of the maintenance of soldiers in insurance laid it down that the contributions must have been paid before the date of enlistment. This clause was drafted to allow contributions to be ante-dated.

With regard to the general item of the amendment, it seeks to do away with the whole basis of the Bill. The basis of the scheme is insurance. The most essential provision is this, that an employed person shall have paid in respect of twenty contributions at any time, or ten contributions since the 8th November, 1920. See what that means. It means that for the past eleven years a person must have had twenty contributions; that is, he must have been at some period of an eleven years' period five months in insurable occupation, or else two and a half months in the last four years. That is reducing the limitation to the narrowest possible point, and the whole basis of the scheme would become farcical if that were weakened any more than that. All that is demanded is that a person should have five months' employment in insurable occupation in the past 11 years, or two and a half months in the past four years. Beyond that he cannot go. We can go beyond that on a supplementary estimate by way of relief, but not in an Insurance Bill. The administrative difficulties I have referred to would be unending. It would mean, in order properly to make up my mind whether this section should apply, that I should have a survey of a soldier's past history and get some indication as to his prospects, what was his likelihood of having been in insurable occupation if he had not joined the Army, and what were his present prospects of getting any insurable occupation. There are not sufficient facts known about the majority of those in the National forces to warrant my making up my mind about that. There would not be sufficient facts for my information. The thing is administratively difficult. It weakens the very small limitations in the ordinary insurance provisions, and it does away with the whole character of the Bill as an Insurance Bill.

The Minister has in mind a man of 25 or 27, and he is reasonable in assuming that such a person, unless he were a farm labourer or a son of a farmer, or the employee of a local authority or the employee of some person who refused to pay or neglected to pay contributions, would have been insured. The chances are that in that eleven years since he was sixteen years of age or thereabouts he would have been certainly in employment for the necessary number of weeks. I have in mind the young man who is now about 20, 21 or 22. The Minister will know that there are very many who, during that few years, have not been engaged in insurable occupation. And yet, if life were normal, it would be almost certain that they would be entering into insurable occupations. Since 1919 we know, as a matter of fact, that in this country there has been very considerable derangement of the normal course of industry, and large numbers of young men who would have been insured ordinarily have not been insured because of that derangement. They have been in the Army, and they have not been insured. The Minister says that as this is an Insurance Bill, pre-supposing contributions, he cannot go outside it for the sake of the comparative few. I hope they are fewer than I believe they are, and I hope also that the Minister is better informed in the matter than I am. I am, however, inclined to think he is misinformed and that there are considerable numbers who will be living on charity, living as so many did and had to do before there was any insurance, and whose position will be socially worse than those of their fellows who happened to have two or three months' employment before joining the Army.

It is a bad influence on their surroundings to have them entirely dependent upon their friends. I do not think the argument that it is not insurance has any substance. My suggestion is that they will be brought into insurance if this amendment is accepted. They will be brought into insurance and they will be just as much insured from that date as any other person getting benefit in advance of contributions. By bringing them into the scheme you would thereby be insuring them and, as a consequence, the insurance basis of the scheme would remain. You would have contributions on their behalf, and you would be debiting them with contributions for the future. There may be, and, no doubt, there are, considerable administrative difficulties.

This is an attempt to amend the Bill, perhaps not in the best way, in favour of the young men who ought to have been insured and who, by chance of the circumstances of the last few years, have not been insured, and it is to prevent such men suffering as a consequence of their lack of foresight, their misfortune, or somebody else's negligence. I think, in view of the small cost the Minister anticipates and the small number of people who will be left out, he would be well advised in devising an amendment to the Bill to cover such cases as I have mentioned, and to cover such cases as are referred to in the amendment I have put forward. I acknowledge at once that the form of the amendment is not ideal, but, no doubt, the Minister, with his more expert assistance, will be able to effect the same purpose in another form, if he would but agree to the principle I have endeavoured to embody in the amendment.

I have spoken of the administrative difficulties, but that was merely as an additional weight in the balance against the amendment. Administrative difficulties could be got over; we would have to get over them if the amendment were thought desirable. I have no delusions at all about the number of people involved. I am not aware that I said there would be a very small number of people prejudiced by the omission of such an amendment. I am regretfully aware a considerable number of people would be left without benefit and without any chance of unemployment relief if the proposal in the Bill stands without the amendment. All I do say is this, that it is scarcely fair to make an Unemployment Insurance Bill bear the whole brunt of the unemployment in the country. I have to be, in a certain sense, the guardian of the fund built up in a certain way and imposing a severe drain on industry in the country, and it is not fair to put on that fund young men who have not been in an insurable occupation, and about whom we have no assurance that they will ever be in an insurable occupation.

The principle of the clause is that those who left civil life, being in an insurable occupation, in order to join the Army, should not be prejudiced by leaving stamps which would have gone to their credit in the civilian work they might have been in had they not joined the Army. I do admit this does not give relief to all those who need relief in the country, but I am only dealing with unemployed of a particular type. That is to say, whatever body of unemployed can be counted a charge upon industry and commerce.

If the Minister had accepted No. 1 we would have got over that difficulty.

Can the Minister say how is a demobilised soldier to obtain work who was employed, prior to joining the Army, in an insurable occupation, whose employer did not stamp his card, and whose employer has now left the country?

That is one of the difficult cases I did not expect to have to deal with. Previous legislation set out to meet all the difficulties. The main Act is the 1920 Act, and I read a clause there which stated that the employer could be summarily compelled to pay. Of course, if the employer has left the country he cannot personally be made amenable to justice for this negligence. I am not quite clear as to whether any property he has still in the country might be made amenable. If the Deputy has any cases in mind, and if he gives me particulars of them, they will be considered immediately in connection with the Bill.

Take the case of men who joined the Army, but who worked for themselves prior to that as painters, tailors, or bootmakers. They were not in insurable occupations prior to joining the Army. Now they are demobilised, and their means of livelihood are gone owing to the slackness in trade. Would they be eligible to receive benefit now?

I do not know how people of the class described by the Deputy could have stamps put on to their credit while in the Army, but if they have stamps to their credit exhausted in the last year through receipt of benefit, these stamps are revived and they are available to bring those people further benefit.

Is every soldier in the Army not insured under Unemployment Benefit?

There has been any number of non-insurable people in the Army.

Amendment put, and negatived.

Question—"That Section 4 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.
Notwithstanding anything in the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920 to 1923, or in this Act, no person shall be entitled to receive benefit in the Third Benefit Year established by this Act for periods amounting in the aggregate to more than ten weeks; or in the Fourth Benefit Year established by this Act for periods amounting in the aggregate to more than sixteen weeks; or in the Fifth Benefit Year established by this Act for periods amounting in the aggregate to more than fifteen weeks; or in any subsequent Benefit Year for periods amounting in the aggregate to more than 26 weeks.

On behalf of Deputy Corish I am moving the following amendments:—

In line 15, to delete the word "ten" and substitute therefor the word "sixteen."

In line 17, to delete the word "sixteen" and substitute therefor the word "eighteen."

In line 19, to delete the word "fifteen" and substitute therefor the word "twenty."

Those amendments are an endeavour to reduce the length of the gap. The Minister pointed out on the earlier stage that the Bill provided for ten weeks in the third year out of seventeen; in the fourth year, sixteen out of twenty weeks; in the fifth year, fifteen out of 29 weeks; and in the sixth year, twenty-six out of fifty-two weeks. The amendments are designed to reduce the gap and to allow sixteen weeks instead of ten, eighteen instead of sixteen, and twenty instead of fifteen. There is much that might be said, but all that could be said would be simply saying so in so many words what can be said in very few words, and that is that we want to reduce the number of weeks during which unemployed men are living upon their friends. We want to reduce the number of weeks during which men are without benefit. It will be known that the proposal in England, which is being copied in the North of Ireland, is to close the gap up. In this amendment we have not even gone so far as that, but we have attempted to do better for the unemployed than the Minister is prepared to do, or was prepared to do when he drafted his Bill. I hope he has changed his mind and is prepared to accept the amendment.

I hope the Minister will have some sympathy with the amendments. This was one of the matters I raised on the Second Reading. If the Bill as it stands were to become law, that would mean that those who would benefit would go out of benefit at the end of ten weeks, and they would be more or less reverting to their previous needy position. I would urge the Minister to meet the point in some way, so that the gap would be reduced. People who will be in a desperate position will be getting benefit for a few weeks only and then they will revert to their old position.

The whole idea underlying the division of benefit set forth in Section 5 is to spread the limited amount of money at our disposal over the longest possible period. Our proposal is that in a seventeen weeks' period the benefit shall not be paid for more than ten weeks. Deputy Corish's proposal was to enlarge the period to sixteen weeks. That, in the first period of seventeen weeks, would indicate a possible gap of one week. In the second period of twenty weeks we propose to have the maximum period of benefit sixteen weeks. Deputy Corish wants eighteen weeks. Finally, in the twenty-eight weeks' period, we have set out a maximum of fifteen weeks, which Deputy Corish wants enlarged to twenty weeks.

Deputy Johnson has put that this way—that we should reduce the number of weeks in which these people will have to live on their friends. If that is the alternative, I would ask Deputy Johnson to consider if it is better to have these people taken off their friends for a ten-week period, then to resume living on them for six weeks or so, and then to have benefit for a further 16 weeks, rather than have them off their friends for 16 weeks, with the possibility of their contributions being exhausted very soon after that in the second benefit year, when they would return to live upon their friends until the end of the fifth benefit year, having all their contributions exhausted. This is a way of spreading it. It is based on a principle, that principle being that it is better to have a short period during which benefit may be received, in the summer and autumn, when work is more plentiful. and allow more unemployment benefit in the winter months when work is not so plentiful. In the third and fourth benefit years the maximum number of weeks over which benefit is to be allowed is twenty-six. If, keeping to that twenty-six maximum, Deputy Johnson were to propose to split it up in any other way than ten and sixteen, I could meet him, but not in any enlargement of the number of weeks in these two benefit years. There is a limited amount of money to be spread over those two years, and it is thought better to limit the amount in that portion of the year in which employment is more plentiful, and to have greater benefit available in the portion of the year in which there is less employment.

I must say the Minister seems to be rather hopeless regarding the prospects of any considerable reduction in the claims owing to unemployment. I would have been pleased to have heard him say that he is confident that before the middle of next year the amount of unemployment would be so greatly reduced that the fund would, perhaps, be increasing rather than declining. But he, apparently, thinks that because a certain sum is fixed, that sum cannot be enlarged. I prefer to think of a man getting at least sufficient to eat for the period when we know employment is very low. To pay a man unemployment benefit ten weeks, and leave him for six or seven weeks without anything is not conducive to a good social State. I suggest that it would be better to fill up the gap even to the extent we are speaking of in this first year, and then count upon an improvement in the general state of industry before the period provided for in respect of the fifth and sixth years. I would hope that the Minister would be able to do something to stimulate employment between now and then, and that the call for those longer periods of payment would not be so strong.

Amendments 3, 4 and 5 put and declared lost.
Question put—"That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.
Section 6 put and agreed to.
SECTION 7.

I move amendment 6:—To insert before Section 7 a new section as follows:—

"Sub-section one of Section 8 of the principal Act (which imposes a disqualification for the receipt of benefit during a stoppage of work) shall not apply in any case in which an insured contributor proves that he is not participating in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work, and that he does not belong to a grade or class of workers members of which are participating in the dispute."

The effect of the principal Bill in the past has been to deprive workers of benefit who are thrown out of employment by a dispute to which they were not parties and in which they had no interest. Therefore, I would urge the Minister to accept this amendment.

I would like to supplement Deputy Colohan's statement by pointing out that this proposed amendment is identical with a clause in the British Unemployment Insurance Bill of this year. There has been a good deal of litigation in regard to the meaning of the principal Act, and I think a good deal of injustice has been done to men who have been disemployed because they worked in an industry which was somewhat associated with another industry where a lock-out took place. We have had instances of that in Dublin, and certain litigation ensued. The men have been deprived of benefits because, for instance, in the case of a railway company, a dispute or lock-out occurred when the men declined to accept certain conditions, and in another establishment belonging to the same concern people were disemployed who had nothing at all to do with the dispute. By virtue of the decision of the umpire, the insured persons were deprived of benefit. This amendment is as I say taken from the British proposal, and is intended to remedy an evil here which has been found to apply not only here but in England, too. I hope the Minister will accept this amendment.

First of all, this amendment is technically not an amendment to this Bill. It is an amendment to the principal Act, and would arise more definitely on consideration of the principal Act, if the principal Act were being substituted by a comprehensive Bill, drawn up to meet the industrial conditions of this country. Waiving that, the amendment is similar to one shortly to come up for discussion before the British Parliament. It is an amendment about which great controversy has already taken place in England and there is promise of much more controversy.

Show them a lead!

The lead would be a very dangerous one for this country, not highly industrialised, to give to another country, which is highly industrialised. The whole idea of the Unemployment Act of 1920 was that benefit is only for people who are involuntarily out of employment. Collateral to that is the other principle, that the fund should not be used to benefit either side in a trade dispute. It is quite easy to see how this could be used to benefit people in a trade dispute. The key men in certain industries could be called out. The others would then come under this amendment and would receive benefit, and the dispute could be prolonged indefinitely. In fact, there could be a certain amount of parcelling out of benefit to the different groups and an industrial dispute could be dragged out to a length absolutely impossible except for this amendment. That is running quite contrary to the whole principle at the back of Unemployment Insurance. While there have been, no doubt, cases of hardship, men thrown out of work not because they were engineering any plan for benefit, but because the industry was held up owing to a dispute with the key-workers, there is a certain protection for such workers under Section 8 of the principal Act. There is a certain safeguard and guarantee in a paragraph of that section. Inasmuch as this is, first of all, too big an amendment for consideration here in discussing an Act which is very definitely technical in its character, and secondly, because it brings in this very bad principle and gives an opportunity for the use of unemployment benefit to aid either party to a trade dispute, I cannot accept it. It could be used also by the employer in a certain way, so that it is a double-edged weapon. For those reasons I oppose acceptance of the amendment.

I do not think the amendment would allow of that which the Minister suggests it would. But the fact remains that notwithstanding what is believed by all those who took part in the original discussions to have been the intention, the legal decisions have debarred men who were never intended to be debarred by the principal Act. People entirely disconnected with disputes in operation have been disqualified owing to a legal interpretation of the Act. The amendment says that sub-section (1) of Section 8 of the principal Act "shall not apply in any case in which an insured contributor proves that he is not participating in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work, and that he does not belong to a grade or class of workers members of which are participating in the dispute." If one says that key workers might be used to bring a whole series of connected industries into disemployment—if that is the interpretation the Minister would like to place upon it—it simply means that at any time employers wish to bring the Act into disuse, all they have to say is that they have only ceased work and closed their business down because somebody in a far-distant key position made it difficult for them to carry on. As a matter of fact, a very nice point has arisen in certain cases, whether the persons concerned had any connection whatever of any kind, near or remote, with the dispute. But the employers have said that such and such a thing would not have taken place but for the fact that such and such a person was in dispute with his employers.

Undoubtedly this legal definition, which is a defect of the 1920 Act, has given opportunities to disqualify persons who ought not to have been disqualified for the purpose of bringing their influence to bear in the dispute. Certainly the conception of the Insurance Acts never was to debar such people from insurance. The amendment is an attempt to remedy an obvious injustice, and I would press upon the Minister that it is important that he should accept this, or some such amendment to cover the point.

It is not beyond the ingenuity of employed people to use a section of this sort in the way I have described, and I simply ask the Dáil to hesitate before it puts a weapon of this sort into the hands of the employees, so that by an ingenious device piecemeal strikes and industrial disputes could be indefinitely prolonged.

But the Minister says, alternatively, "Leave the weapon that they have at present in the hands of the employers."

I have some doubts as to whether I ought to put this amendment, as it is a proposed amendment to the principal Act. So is the next amendment. In fact, the next two amendments mention the principal Act specifically, in case I have any doubt on the question.

The Bill is to amend the principal Acts.

We had all this question before, as to Bills to amend principal Acts. However, as I allowed the matter to be discussed I will put the question.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 42.

  • John Daly.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • David Hall.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Eamon O Dubhghaill.
  • Seán O Laidhin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Tadhg O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (An Clár).

Níl

  • Pádraig F. Baxter.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Osmond Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Seosamh Mac 'a Bhrighde.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig S. Mag Ualghairg.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Richard O'Connell.
  • Partholán O Conchubhair.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Eoghan O Dochartaigh.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Tadhg O Donnabháin.
  • Pádraig O Dubhthaigh.
  • Eamon O Dúgáin.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Pádraic O Máille.
  • Risteárd O Maolchatha.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Patrick K. Hogan (Luimneach).
  • Caoimhghín O hUigín.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
Amendment declared lost.

I beg to move:—

To insert before Section 7 a new section as follows:—

"Paragraph (c) of the proviso to sub-section one of Section 7 of the principal Act (which relates to failure to fulfil the statutory conditions for the receipt of unemployment benefit) shall be amended by the addition at the end thereof of the words —"or at a rate of wage which, having regard to the duration of the employment offered and the cost and inconvenience of travelling or removal to the district, would not constitute a reasonable recompense."

I am quite sure the Minister will accept this, because it is a harmless amendment. The proviso of the Act as it stands at present reads as follows:—

(c) an offer of employment in any other district at a rate of wage lower, or on conditions less favourable, than those generally observed in that district by agreement between associations of employers and employees, or, failing any such agreement, than those generally recognised in that district by good employers.

As the provisions stand, a man whose normal rate of wages would be, say, £3 or £4 a week may be sent down the country to a district where the rate of wages for the same class of work might be only £2 a week. Another point is that the duration of the employment might not be such as would reimburse an employee for the expense he incurs in going down to a job in the country. It might happen that practically all the wages he receives there would go to pay for his board and lodging. In fact, he might be put to such expense in going down the country to a job that he would have nothing left to send for the support of his wife and family. I trust that the Minister will see the justice of this amendment and that he will accept it. I accordingly move the amendment.

I might make the point again that this is an amendment to the principal Act instead of an amendment to the Bill. We have already dealt with one of these amendments, and this amendment is really unnecessary. It relates to the third proviso of sub-section (1) of Section 7 of the principal Act, in which the words occur "unable to obtain suitable employment." That word "suitable" has to be interpreted, and there have been a variety of cases before the Courts of Referees. These cases have a bearing and are recorded and looked back to for guidance in any future cases that come along. A decision as to what is suitable employment would include a good many things. It would certainly include such things as expenses incurred in getting to a particular area. That would come before the courts for consideration, to decide whether or not the employment offered was or was not suitable. It is, I suggest, a bad thing to limit these Courts of Referees, which should be given great latitude by setting in an Act of a strict proviso to this effect. The conditions will vary very much in the different sets of circumstances, and I suggest to the Deputy that the amendment is undesirable and that it will unduly tie the hands of the umpire and the Courts of Referees.

I put it to the Minister that the decision in the first case rests with the insurance officer. If the contributor appeals from the decision of the insurance officer, the latter has the right to appeal from the decision of the Court of Referees to the umpire, whose decision is final in all cases.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE at this stage took the Chair.

The Deputy has correctly stated the procedure. As I have stated, a great variety of circumstances has to be taken into account by either the original decider, the Court of Referees, or the umpire, before coming to a decision as to whether or not suitable employment has been offered. There has been no complaint that the provisions of the principal Act have been harsh on this particular point.

The tendency is in that direction.

I think the Minister is misinformed on that point. I think there have been considerable complaints, and that the complaints are increasing. The increasing number of such complaints is due to what might be called an increasing stringency in interpretation, and it is that that has given rise to this amendment. It is true to say that in the other stages of the Act some regard was paid in sending men away or offering them employment at a distance. Some regard, I say, was paid to the circumstances of the men concerned. If, for instance, he were a married man, he would not be asked to go a distance. The relative wages ruling in the place where he usually worked, and the place where he was asked to go, were taken into account. It has been found that latterly consideration has not been given to anything like the same extent that prevailed formerly, and men have been asked to go to certain places where the wage ruling was very much lower than in the place where they usually worked. The men, knowing the circumstances and the conditions of what would be involved in the way of expense, have declined to go to these places, and have consequently deprived themselves of benefit. The proviso in the principal Act provides that a person shall not be deemed to have filled the statutory conditions by reason only that he has declined an offer of employment in another district where the conditions were less favourable than those usually observed in that district by agreement between employers and employed. One would naturally assume that the intention was to have some regard to the conditions under which a man normally worked.

To take an instance, it would not be reasonable to ask a man in employment in the building trade in Dublin to take employment in Connemara, where the wage is very much lower and where the general conditions are quite different. It would not be fair, I say, to put the alternative of refusal before that man, because he will inevitably refuse to go unless it is summer time and that he knows he is going to an easy job and wants a holiday. He will refuse that employment, and then he will be deprived of the unemployment benefit. It is currently believed, in some parts of the country, that the Labour Exchange managers do, as a matter of practice, put to a man difficult questions of that kind. They ask him will you take a job in such and such a place, and the man thinks that a proposition of that kind is put forward in the hope that a refusal will be the answer and that consequently no benefit will follow. That may be unfounded, but it is currently believed, and the belief arises from what is a not infrequent practice to ask men to take jobs in low wage districts.

The amendment is an attempt to remedy that, and to bring into reality what I understand was a common practice in the earlier stages of the administration of the Act: That in this city, and I think in Cork, and other cities, it was fairly general for the employer to take into account the circumstances of the man himself and the circumstances of the district. Men were not invited or asked to go to places where the rate of wage was considerably lower, or where considerable expense would be involved in lodging or in travelling, but I understand that that general consideration of all the circumstances is not operating now and not infrequently men are asked to take up such positions. I understand that there have been quite frequent complaints and I am surprised that the Minister has not had some information in regard to them. After all the amendment is still leaving a discretion, and it is asking the insurance officer to take into account the rate of wages and the circumstances in the district in which employment is offered. I think there is not a great deal in the amendment that the Minister should object to. It will certainly remedy a grievance which is a growing one, and one that is exciting a good deal of feeling on the part of men in trades who are frequently travelling from one district to another.

The procedure with regard to disputes has been correctly described by Deputy Morrissey. First you get the decision of the insurance officer. There can be an appeal from him to the Court of Referees, and there can be an appeal, then, which is easily obtained, from that body to the umpire. The umpire is a person independent of the Ministry, of the employers generally, and of the employees. The workers' interests are very definitely protected in so far as any independent person set up as a final arbiter can protect them. Now, there have been a great many cases decided by insurance officers, by the Court of Referees, and finally by the umpire, and these decisions are, in the main, favourable to the points set down here in the terms of the amendment. These cases are considered and are held to be binding in like circumstances on new appearances of the same type of case. I suggest it is highly undesirable to put in, as a strict provision in an Act, a thing which is already secured for the employee by Case Law and by decisions given in previous cases before the Court of Referees and before the umpire.

All I wish to attain is that a certain amount of latitude will be allowed in exceptional cases. As I say, the main bulk of the cases have been decided in favour of the point raised in the amendment, and there is no doubt whatever that a man would not be precluded from benefit for refusing a post at an unreasonable rate. Consider the type of circumstances mentioned. For instance, a post is offered to a man where the work is likely to be of short duration and where the expense involved in getting to the district where the work is offered is high. In that event, undoubtedly, a refusal of such work would not preclude a man from the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Act. I am in agreement with Deputy Morrissey to this extent, that these points have already been considered by the particular courts dealing with these matters and have been in the main decided in favour of the workers. I suggest that it is better to leave this as a matter of case law than to include in an Act a provision which might have to be rigidly worked and which might have certain repercussions on the judgment of the Court of Referees or on the umpire and against the worker. I understand that these matters are being definitely decided in favour of the worker, and in the way that the amendment would seek to have them decided. I suggest, therefore, that it is not good to introduce this compulsion.

Unfortunately for the Minister's argument, cases have deen definitely decided. There are a great number of cases which if decided favourably, have been interpreted wrongly by the Ministry and the various officers concerned. After all, it is not fair to throw upon the applicant the onus of going from court to court from insurance officers to referees and from referees to umpires whenever there is a grievance, and if, as is alleged, notwithstanding what the Minister says about case law and decisions, there remains an increasing number of complaints under this head it follows that the insurance officers are not acting in accordance with the decisions in previous cases. Notwithstanding again what the Minister says about decisions, this similar complaint applies in England and Scotland, and the various exchanges are charged with following the same practice and with offering men work in low wage districts. The amendment still leaves the umpire finally to say whether it is reasonable recompense or not, and it makes clear what the intentions of the legislature are in this matter. I think if the Minister will make further inquiries he will find that there is still a good deal of dissatisfaction with decisions in such a matter and that the dissatisfaction arises from the fact that the insurance officers have decided against the applicant and, in effect, force the applicant to go through the procedure of referees and umpires, and that should not be necessary for a man in the position of a workman seeking unemployment insurance. If we are going to make the matter clear by the insertion of an amendment of this kind, it would save a great deal of dissatisfaction and, I think, injustice.

This is a matter which, if I were not pressed for time —and I think Deputy Johnson will agree that time is running fast against this Bill—I would hold over for the Report Stage, which will have to be taken quite soon. I think, however, that there is an absence of objection by reason of what I stated. I think it would require further consideration to see what would likely be its effect on other conditions and to see whether the employer would be satisfied. Other conditions would, for instance, be the length of unemployment in which a man found himself for a period beforehand. You take his previous history into consideration. If you segregate one item, namely, the rate of wage——

It says "or at a rate of wage." It is an extra provision.

It is an extra proviso, but paragraph (c) of sub-section (7), in so far as the proviso is a complete thing, stresses the rate of wage. That elevation of the rate of wage marks it out as the main consideration, and may have results not desired by the employee afterwards. I have not yet heard any great number of complaints on this particular head, and I think complaints would have come to my notice, even in the short period during which I have been looking after this matter.

I assure the Minister that if this Bill had not been brought in when it was he would have had a request from the Executive of the Trades Union Congress, from the Dublin Workers' Council, and from the Cork Workers' Council, to receive a deputation on this specific question. We had a conference to discuss this matter, and I had complaints time and again from different parts of the country, and amongst those complaints this is one of the most insistent. This is a real grievance, and if the Minister cannot accept this amendment at this stage, or even in the Dáil, I think that he ought to be prepared in the Seanad to move an amendment to secure this object when the matter comes forward there. I would, however, be better pleased if he accepted it now, and amended it later on.

Deputy Johnson's very deliberate statement with regard to the existence of the grievance is a matter to be considered. If the Deputy is prepared to leave it over for consideration on the Report Stage, or have the point further considered in the Seanad, I will see what I can do to meet him.

I would be quite prepared to accept that undertaking, and I therefore ask leave to withdraw the amendment:—

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On behalf of Deputy Corish I beg to move the following amendment:—

To insert before Section 7 a new section as follows:—

"Paragraph (b) of sub-section one of Section 35 of the principal Act (which relates to evidence as to the fulfilment of the conditions and the absence of the disqualifications for receiving or continuing to receive unemployment benefit) shall be amended by the insertion after the word "depends" in the last line thereof, of the words "and, if so desired by a court of referees, to attend upon and submit to examination by the court in connection with the consideration and examination of any claim or question."

The provisions of the existing Act are defective in as much as the Minister may make regulations for prescribing the evidence as to the fulfilment of conditions in the absence of qualifications. What has been found and complained of is that the employer answers by filling up a form and according to the manner in which he fills that form the applicant may be damnified in the eyes of the insurance officers or referees, and is not required to answer any questions verbally that may be put to him by the applicant or the applicant's representative. The contributor is going to appear in person and subject himself to any examination that may be necessary. The employer is required to answer inquiries which may be pressed and may be insisted upon and which may be very full, but what usually happens is that a stereotyped form is frequently filled up in a way which prejudices the applicant, who has no opportunity in practice to put questions to the employer before the court. The intention of the amendment is to put the applicant and the employer on equal terms so far as that is concerned. It is a very easy thing for an employer to answer a question which will, for instance, suggest a trade dispute. In such a case the applicant is disqualified. The amendment would enable the court to say that the employer shall attend and submit to an examination if the court so decides. The original Act says "shall answer inquiries," and in practice the answer to inquiries is an answer by letter or by the filling up of forms. I think it is only equitable that the applicant should be allowed to face the employer if, as may be alleged, the answer that the employer has made to the insurance officer's question prejudices the applicant. This amendment says "if so desired by the court of referees to attend upon and submit to examination by the court." I think that is an equitable proposition which would remedy the grievance.

This amendment again is not very strongly objected to, nor, indeed, is there any objection to it but I just want to draw attention to one danger. As the Unemployment Acts are at present worked, there is no statutory obligation on anyone to attend. Witnesses are invited and employers may attend or may fill up a particular series of questions addressed to them. I suggest to the Labour Deputies that what ordinarily happens in cases where the employer answers, and where the questions are not satisfactory, and where he does not appear to supplement unsatisfactory answers, the case is given in favour of the employee.

They do not think so.

I suggest, at any rate, that it is a reasonable assumption that an insurance officer or a court of referees or an umpire, not receiving satisfactory answers from the employer, is at least prejudiced against the employer.

It depends on what is satisfactory. If it is more satisfactory to the insurance officer that a man should be deprived of benefit, and if the answer would have that effect, it would be satisfactory to him.

Then let me move away from the area of the insurance officer who may be prejudiced. Let us take the umpire.

I would prefer to leave it to a Court of Referees.

An umpire is away from both employers and employees. He is as independent as can be made, and he is chosen because of his independence. I suggest that such a man would be seriously prejudiced against an employer who did not satisfactorily answer questions, and "satisfactorily" there would, I am sure, be in accordance with Deputy Johnson's argument. He may insist on this more formal procedure. The whole effect of the practice in connection with the Unemployment Insurance Acts has been to make them less formal than ordinary courts of law, which are reputed to be very slow and cumbersome in their procedure. Is it desired that this informal court should be put in a position to adopt a more cumbersome procedure than it has previously adopted?

If this is to be pressed, and it is thought desirable to press it, I suggest that it should be at least enlarged so that all people interested in connection with the Act should be brought, if so desired, before the insurance officers, the Court of Referees and the umpire. That would make it more comprehensive than it is at present. If you are going to apply the principle of compulsory attendance, apply the compulsion both to the attendance of the employer and the employee, and to their attendance not only before the insurance officer, but before the Court of Referees and the umpire. There is one difficulty that I see in the way—you are going to make the procedure somewhat slower and more expensive administratively to the Ministry to carry out the Act.

The Minister seems to misapprehend. Under the principal Act the Minister may make regulations for the purpose of requiring the attendance of insured contributors and requiring them to answer inquiries. The amendment seeks to give the Minister power to make regulations additional to that—to make regulations to enable the Court of Referees to call the employers just as that court can compel the contributors to appear under the regulations. There is nothing very terrible about it. It is putting both sides in a position of equality, and it enables the inquiry to be conducted with the parties face to face. It enables the man who has been disqualified by the reply which an employer has given to the formal question to come to the Court of Referees and to meet the employer there face to face and to say whether the answer was a true answer or a false answer. It is impressed upon me that the matter is of considerable value and considerable importance, and that the amendment, if adopted, would save the necessity of going to umpires from referees. I suggest to the Minister that it is not good policy to assume that the normal course was to go from an insurance officer to the Court of Referees and from the Court of Referees to umpires. We should rather hope that the regulations and the law in the matter would be clear enough to avoid the necessity of having to go to the umpire in every case.

I understand that Deputy Johnson thinks this amendment desirable and would press for its acceptance. I am willing to agree to what he desires with regard to the employers. I should like to have some chance of looking at the amendment and seeing if it applies to both the insured contributors and the employers. I will again guarantee to have this brought up on Report Stage or in the Seanad.

I am quite agreeable, under the circumstances, to withdraw the amendment with the leave of the House.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 7 stand part of the Bill"—agreed to.
Sections 8 and 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.
The Minister may, subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance, make such reciprocal arrangements with the respective Governments of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as may appear to him necessary or proper in consequence of the severance of the system of unemployment insurance in Saorstát Eireann from that in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I move:—

In line 14, after the word "Finance" to insert the words "and after consultation with such organisations as appear to the Minister to be most representative of the interest of insured contributors."

The proposal in the Bill is to allow the Minister to make reciprocal arrangements with the Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which, of course, is very desirable. This amendment is perhaps not of very grave importance if there was an understanding. But the suggestion is that in coming to such arrangements or before making such reciprocal arrangements which may involve the claims or the rights of insured contributors there should be some consultation with trade unions or other persons representative of the insured contributors, in the matter. I do not think it is a matter that need be pressed very much if one could get an assurance from the Minister that there would be such a consultation before final decisions were taken.

If that satisfies Deputy Johnson I can give an assurance in the open Dáil that in the making of any arrangements under Section 10, the organisations referred to will be consulted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

In line 14, after the word "reciprocal" to insert the following words—"or other."

The purpose of this amendment is to meet any difficulties which may arise as the result of a strict legal interpretation of the word "reciprocal." It may be suggested that the words "reciprocal arrangements" apply only to arrangements under which the two parties did identically the same thing. But in view of the fact that the system of Unemployment Insurance in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is different in some respects from that in force in the Saorstát, it may be that the words "reciprocal arrangements" would prove embarrassing. The insertion of the words "or other" would give the Minister discretion in cases of that kind and would ensure that the intentions of the framers of the Bill would not be defeated by reason of a very strict interpretation being given to the word "reciprocal."

Amendment agreed to.
Question: "That Section 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— agreed to.
Sections 11 and 12 agreed to.
Question: "That the title stand part of the Bill"—agreed to.

I understand that the next stage cannot be taken until next Tuesday under the regulations with regard to notice, but I intend to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that with the leave of the Dáil the Fourth and Fifth Stages be taken together on the Tuesday of next week.

I shall have no objection.

The Fourth and Fifth Stages fixed for Tuesday, 24th June.