Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Stamping of Insurance Cards.

33.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of cases in each of the last three years in which his Department (a) were notified of the failure of employers to stamp employees' insurance cards and (b) took legal proceedings against employers so defaulting.

Cases where employers fail to stamp the insurance cards of their employees come to the notice of my Department in a number of different ways and no record is kept of the number of such cases specifically notified. Legal proceedings were taken against 281 defaulting employers in 1966; 279 in 1967 and 216 in 1968.

Can no scheme be devised by the Department of Social Welfare to give people some benefit while they are unable to seek other employment?

If the Department were to bring in a scheme to cover cases where the employer failed to stamp cards it could easily act as an incentive to defaulters.

Surely the Minister should face the fact that, where an employed person—particularly one not sustained by a trade union organisation—is deprived of benefit through the failure of the employer to stamp his cards, the Minister should accept liability to sue the employer for the arrears of benefit of which the individual employee has been deprived because of the employer? He has the power to do it but in a vast number of cases he does not do it and the individual is not, as we say in Monaghan, fit to do it.

Where the individual is not fit to do it we always do it.

I have several cases on record where individuals were not in a position to sue an employer owing to various local circumstances. If the Minister is asked on behalf of the employee to initiate civil proceedings to recover compensation to which the employee is entitled as a result of the failure of the employer to stamp the card will he accept the responsibility on request?

We will give every assistance possible.

You will? If the Minister says that, that is enough.

Question No. 34.

Is the Minister aware that there is considerable hardship in many cases where the person with a card neglects to send it in in time and the Department fines him a month's payment because of this?

That is a separate question. The question relates to the failure of employers to stamp cards.

(Interruptions.)

Surely the obvious thing is to publicise this matter and if there are cases taken to court then it will stop.

There were 280 of them last year.