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Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 18 Jan 1934

Vol. 18 No. 2

Workmen's Compensation Bill, 1933—Committee Stage—(Resumed).

I move amendment No. 18:—

New section. Before Section 24 to insert a new section as follows:—

24. When compensation is payable under this Act in respect of any injury to a workman, whether such injury does or does not result in his death, and the court is satisfied that medical or surgical treatment has been received by the workman, whether in hospital or elsewhere, the court shall out of the compensation payable under this Act direct the payment to the medical practitioner or practitioners from whom such treatment has been received of such sum as the court may consider reasonable for such treatment and shall direct the manner in which such sum shall be paid.

The amendment is a plain and reasonable proposal and needs no words of mine to commend it to this House. It is well known that a very large proportion of cases in which compensation has been given in the past have paid no fees to the medical men who have taken so much trouble with the cases. The Minister, for whose commonsense and sense of fair play I have great respect, yesterday compared the fees of a medical man to a debt due for food. This off-hand expression does not do the Minister justice. A medical man may be called at any time, day or night, to attend an urgent case, and no matter how tired he may be or what other engagements he may have, he must go and he must render whatever service he can. If an accident occurs at a distance, he may have to hire a taxi or other conveyance and he must take dressings, apparatus and so on, with him. He has no option but to attend and he cannot first ask who is responsible for his fee. That is not done. It is to the honour of the profession that they willingly render all the help in their power in every case. In the case of a shopkeeper, he is not compelled to supply anything to anybody and more especially to a stranger. He need not be at any loss and there is no onus cast on him to do anything, whereas there is a great onus on the medical man.

There are two professional persons principally employed in all serious accident cases, one, the solicitor and the other, the medical man. The solicitor is quite sure of receiving his fee and why should the medical man not be equally sure of receiving his fee? The solicitor may render service which causes him no inconvenience. The service is at least very trivial in comparison with the services the medical man may have to render. Yet he is sure of being paid whereas the medical man may or may not be paid. I think it is a very reasonable proposal that he should receive such fees as the court may decide.

I would ask the Minister to give favourable consideration to this amendment. I noted what he said yesterday with regard to putting medical men in a preferential position as compared with the trader who supplies the necessaries of life to a person who may be injured, but I would point out that the trader, as a rule, has had some of the injured man's custom before and will probably have his custom again when the man resumes as a wage earner. I have seen an accident in which the injured person was rushed to a doctor's house and brought in by the doctor to his consulting room. He was bleeding very profusely and the doctor's carpet was pretty badly spoiled by reason of the bleeding of the injured man. In the circumstances, I think that the doctor who feels that his professional etiquette compels him to attend a person there and then, without any hope, should have consideration. Speaking as one who has some knowledge of insurance, I can say that insurance companies, when they are coming to a settlement, do take the doctor's fees into consideration. Some little difficulty may possibly arise where the injured person is not insured and I think this is an amendment which the Minister should go some way, at least, to accept. Frankly, I do not like the phrase in it "The court shall, out of the compensation payable under this Act..." I should like the court to have regard to all the circumstances and make such allowances as are necessary and then say that so much of the compensation is allotted in respect of medical services. I think the Minister should give favourable consideration to this in some form or other.

Senator Dowdall has put his finger on the defect in this amendment which makes it quite impossible for me to support it. It directs that the court shall, out of the compensation payable under this Act, direct payment to the medical practitioner, but Senator Dowdall argued it as though this were merely a case of death due to an accident. The amendment deals with injuries whether resulting in death or not. Let us assume that it is a case of partial incapacity —incapacity for six months. The man is earning £1 or 30/- per week normally, and his compensation is limited by the Bill to, perhaps, 16/- per week, or 22/6 per week in the case of the 30/- per week man. You are going to secure that the compensation will be reduced by the amount that has to be paid to the medical practitioner. That makes the amendment quite impossible for me to support. We attempted yesterday to secure this idea, that the medical fees should be paid by the employer as an additional sum within definite limits, but it is quite impossible for any workman who has the prospect of receiving 16/- per week to pay, as Senator O'Farrell pointed out yesterday, possibly £50 or £60 by way of medical fees. I suggest that the amendment is not worthy of consideration in view of those facts.

With the remarks of Senator Sir E. Coey Bigger I desire to associate myself, especially with regard to the merits of the medical profession. I think it holds a big position in the professional world. Other professions in many cases are actuated by mercenary motives in discharging their functions. That is a charge which can never be laid at the door of the medical profession, but I share, to some extent, the viewpoint of the last speaker, and I should like to reiterate and emphasise it. If an injured person is in hospital for six months and receives medical treatment, and if the medical fees are deducted from that compensation, there is a great possibility that there will be very little left in the way of compensation for the injured workman. At the same time, I think it is only right that the medical practitioners or the attendants on an injured person should receive their fees and that there should be statutory provision to secure that. I am fully cognisant of the fact that, yesterday, an effort was made to introduce that. Unfortunately, that amendment, allowing one penny more, was circulated too late to receive adequate consideration from any members here, but there is an opportunity in this amendment, I think, to go to some extent to meet the point of view of the movers of yesterday's amendment.

I hope the suggestion I wish to make will be accepted by Senator Sir E. Coey Bigger, and that it will not be resisted by the Minister. I suggest that, on Report Stage, this proposed new section should be amended by the deletion of all after the phrase "the court shall," in line 5, and the insertion of the words "direct what sum shall be paid by the employer in respect of fees to the medical practitioner or practitioners from whom such treatment has been received and such amount shall be in addition to such compensation." I cannot see how that amendment can be resisted. I can quite see the argument of the Minister—he made it yesterday and it was not convincing—that this was an addition to the compensation award. The compensation that the injured person receives should be free from these sums, incurred as a consequence of the accident. It is compensation for disability and not for the purpose of meeting immediate expenses consequent upon the injury. It is only right that these expenses for professional services should be recouped to an extent that is fair and reasonable. I ask the mover of this new section to accept the idea I have mentioned in this proposed amendment, and I hope the Minister will see his way to consider it in a favourable spirit.

I do not want to discuss the medical aspect of this question, but I want to point out that there are two points to be considered. One relates to the charge which the insurance company quotes. That is inflexible. I wonder if Senator Johnson has satisfied himself that the poor man gets any consideration when the insurance companies are striking a rate which will cover medical expenses. I think that the insurance companies strike a rate to cover their maximum potential losses, in any case. Another aspect of the question which has to be considered is that about 80 per cent. of these cases are settled out of court. The insurance companies are paid their premiums, the lawyers are paid, but such moneys as may be presumed to be due to the doctors cannot be recovered nor is it sought very hard to recover them. It comes to this, in the general view, that most medical men attached to a large hospital can easily say that they will pass between 40 and 50 cases through their hands before a case becomes a paying case. That is about the average for every doctor. I am not making a plea that doctors should be paid, but I am urging that insurance companies should not be permitted to base their rates on full medical expenses when these companies can count upon 80 per cent. of their cases being settled without any chance of the doctor receiving payment That is what I refer to as the inflexible quotation for insurance. Lately, since it has become obligatory on owners of motor cars to insure, that means an enormous addition in the volume of trade of the insurance companies and should, therefore, reduce their expenses. But they have not reduced their charge. They have added 25 per cent. to it.

I think that the amendment which Sir Edward Coey Bigger proposes goes rather too far and that he would be very wise to withdraw it with a view to further consideration of the whole position on Report Stage. Senator Gogarty drew attention to one important matter— the considerable number of cases that are settled out of court. It is desirable that that should continue. I am not sure that Senator Milroy's suggestion would not also go too far. While every wise employer insures, this is not a compulsory insurance Bill and we have to look at the matter from the point of view of the total charge which is going to be placed on industry generally. This Bill will in all probability add to the charge. I am not objecting to that. It has been more or less accepted in principle. But one naturally hesitates to introduce anything which will make any substantial addition to the charge. My own feeling is that this is a step forward in increasing compensation. There are differences of opinion about certain points but that is, undoubtedly, the case. I do not think we should do anything that would add substantially to that amount without careful consideration. We should not do it at least until we have tried for a few more years and seen how industry can stand it.

I am afraid that Senator Milroy's suggestion would be unlimited. To leave it to the court to add any amount to the charge to be paid by the employer would be more than I would be prepared to support. If that were limited to a certain percentage or limited to cases of total disability, one could agree, but if Senator Milroy reads the wording of his amendment carefully—I heard him read it only once and I cannot, therefore, speak with certainty—I think he will see that it goes too far. There is a fair amount of agreement that something might be done in this matter and it should not be impossible to reach an agreed conclusion on Report Stage.

I wonder whether or not Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger saw the amendment which is down in the name of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries dealing with the payment, out of compensation, of certain debts to trade unions.


What number is that?

Amendment No. 36. That provides that the payment to the trade union of any sums advanced by the trade union to the injured workman prior to the hearing of the case— that is, any arrears of compensation due to him—will be treated as a fund out of which the judge may pay the trade union any sum the union has advanced after the injury and before the compensation is fixed. The amendment of Sir Edward Coey Bigger will mean that the employer will, in addition to any compensation for which he would be liable under this Bill when it becomes an Act, have to pay medical expenses. Speaking to another amendment last evening, I gave reasons why that was practically impossible. It would be putting the employer in the same position as if he were a wrongdoer, when, in fact, he is merely a person who is contributing to the alleviation of the misfortune which the workman has accidentally suffered. It would be very wrong to pass this amendment and put that terrific burden on employers—to pay all medical and surgical expenses in addition to the scale of compensation provided by the Bill.

The amendment does not do that.

It puts the burden on the insurance companies.

Some employers insure and some do not. (Amendment quoted). That is capable of the construction that the medical expenses shall be paid not merely out of the instalments of compensation which have accrued but out of all future instalments. That is clear. It is also capable of the construction— I do not say that it is the construction that will be ultimately decided—that the amount of compensation should be increased, above the scale allowed, by the amount of the expenses. Therefore, I say, with great respect, that before we can properly argue this question, the amendment in the name of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries should be before the House. That amendment, if I may say so, seems to have been drawn with extraordinary care. It deals with the payment, out of the award, of any sums advanced by the trade union to the workman. It takes very good care that the trade union shall not have a right to get any payment out of future instalments. Therefore, I say that this is not the time to vote on this amendment, because a fair chance of having the view of Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger adopted has not been given owing to the form the amendment has taken.

Having regard to the views expressed, I shall, with the leave of the House, withdraw the amendment with a view to tabling an amendment on Report Stage which will give effect to the views of the House.

I suggest that we might hear the view of the Minister.

It is, undoubtedly, true that in some cases, as Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger suggested, medical practitioners have difficulty in recovering their fees from injured workmen. It is also true that other persons who supply goods or services to the injured workman during the period following the accident, and before compensation is awarded, have difficulty occasionally in securing payment. The proposal in this amendment is that the fees due to the medical practitioners should be made a first charge on the amount of the compensation. I am afraid I canot see what justification there is for that. The law provides machinery by which a medical practitioner can recover any debt due to him. That machinery is available to the medical practitioner as it is available to the grocer or the butcher who may have assisted the workman in the particular period that he wanted assistance.

You cannot put the medical practitioner on the same plane as the grocer or the butcher, who charge for everything.


The Minister must be allowed to state his view.

I am waiting to see this amendment on Report Stage, in any event. A section in this Bill makes certain provision in respect of solicitors' costs. That is put in not to secure that the solicitor will get his costs, but to secure that he will not get more than his costs. If you have regard to the fact that in the majority of cases, there is a settlement out of court and that the amount of the payments will not come before the court, you must protect the workman if you protect the doctor, by seeing that the amount to be paid in respect of medical fees, as in respect of solicitors' fees, will be settled by the court. The doctor can go to the court in any case if the workman does not pay the amount due, and he can get a decree the same as any other person. Otherwise, you would put the doctor in the position which we had to take the solicitor out of. The solicitor was able to pay himself, because the money passed through his hands, and sometimes he paid himself more than he paid the workman. He cannot make any deduction unless he goes to the court and gets an amount fixed, whether or not the compensation is determined as a result of a court order or as a result of agreement outside the court. The adoption of the principle of this amendment would mean the insertion in this Bill of something entirely new, something in respect of which we would like to have an opportunity of seeing how it operated elsewhere before we tried it out here. It seems to me there are grave dangers in making special provisions in respect of one particular class of debt which the workman may owe. When a workman is injured he loses his earning capacity. A period necessarily elapses before he gets compensation. During that period he runs into debt with the doctor, the butcher, the grocer; he runs into debt over his rent, and frequently he runs into debt with his trade union for amounts advanced.

The case that has been submitted here is that the debt due to the doctor should be put in a prior position to the debt due to anybody else. I do not think the fact that in some cases the amount left out of compensation when medical fees have been paid is very small, should enter into consideration here at all. I think the worker should pay his debts. If members of the Seanad are of opinion that the amounts provided by way of compensation are too small, we can consider a proposal to increase them. That matter was discussed here on the Second Reading, and also yesterday, and it was discussed in the Dáil. The amount payable in fatal and non-fatal cases was fixed after prolonged consideration. Having regard to the amount payable in other countries, our figure is reasonable, in view of two facts. One is that the payment of this charge constitutes a burden on industry which cannot be made too heavy. The second has relation to the important fact that Senator Comyn stressed yesterday. If the accident is due to the wilful act or negligence of the employer, the employer is obliged to pay full indemnity to the worker, whatever amount the jury can be persuaded to give. If the accident occurs under circumstances in no way attributable to the fault of the employer, and even where the workman was acting contrary to the employer's instructions, the employer has to pay, and consequently there should be a limit to the amount awarded. Having fixed the amount of compensation which may be given, we should leave it to be determined in the ordinary way whether the worker should pay the doctor, the butcher or somebody else first. I think he should pay them all, but it may be more necessary for him first to discharge his debt to his provision merchant.

The doctor's services are requisitioned arising out of the accident. The provision merchant, the baker, the butcher and the milkman perform their own functions and we should not have these things crossing each other.

Admittedly the man and his family must be fed. If it were not for the accident possibly he would be able to pay for his provisions. It is as a result of the accident that he is obliged to get the provisions without payment at the time. It may be three or six months before he gets compensation. In the meantime he has incurred a considerable amount of debt in connection with the amount of food he has had on credit. If we are to provide for the doctors, that is another matter. If it is the idea of Senators that there is a case for inserting in this measure that out of the compensation all debts should be paid, I would like to see it submitted as a separate proposition. No case has been made for putting the doctors' charges as first charges. While I agree the doctors should be paid— and we would all like to make sure that they would be paid no matter who else ought to go—I think we have in the ordinary machinery of the law provided for the doctors an adequate means of recovering whatever debts are due them without adopting the suggestion made by Senator Sir E. Coey Bigger.

I am quite ready to take a vote of the House on the amendment as it stands. This Bill has been introduced to remedy certain defects in former Acts. I think this is a very great defect and we have now an opportunity of remedying it. With a view to getting a more unanimous decision on this matter, I am quite ready to withdraw the amendment on the understanding that I can bring in another amendment on the Report Stage.

Amendment 18, by leave, withdrawn.

On behalf of Senator O'Farrell I desire to move amendment 19:—

New section. Before Section 24 to insert a new section as follows:—

24. Where a workman sustains permanent disfigurement from injury by accident within the meaning of this Act, it shall be competent for the Court to award such workman such lump sum in compensation, not exceeding £100, as it thinks fit. The lump sum awarded under this section shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other payment to which such workman may be entitled under this Act.

This amendment proposes the insertion of a new section dealing with cases where workmen have sustained permanent disfigurement as a result of injuries caused by an accident. The class of case in my mind is that of the shop assistant, the maid servant in a house, the waitress in an hotel or restaurant. Such a worker may suffer from accident and recover and perhaps is no longer incapacitated for some occupation. Let us say the worker is really no longer incapacitated for his or her ordinary occupation, but the chance of getting employment is very seriously reduced, almost made nil, if the facial appearance of the worker is seriously disfigured. The proposal is to introduce a provision to the effect that where the disfigurement occurs a sum not exceeding £100, in addition to the compensation given by virtue of the temporary incapacity, shall be available for the person suffering the disfigurement. It is an attempt to secure that there will be compensation for loss of earning power. This is incorporated in the legislation of other countries and it seems to me to be eminently desirable that, even though the person has completely recovered so far as physical capacity is concerned— muscular energy and brain power—yet he or she may have suffered such disfigurement as to be unable to get employment in the occupation to which he or she was accustomed. I feel sure Senators will see the reasonableness of the case.

This amendment proceeds on the assumption, which the House has already rejected, that the employer is a wrongdoer and shall be liable to indemnify the workman. I do not know whether the Minister will be able to inform the House that what I say now is correct, but I think the Workmen's Compensation Acts provide that any injury which renders a workman less efficient in his work is already the subject-matter of compensation and therefore the case made by Senator Johnson is effectively covered. Suppose a man loses an eye, that is the subject of compensation. Suppose a man loses a tooth, that was always the subject of compensation, strange as it may seem, because it was regarded as an assault, a maiming. Breaking a man's tooth was a maiming because it rendered him less able to fight.

Was that the law in relation to a Clare man?

No, it was the common law of Ireland and the common law of England as well. The arguments put forward by Senator Johnson are intended to support a section which will give the workman compensation for loss of beauty; anything else is already fully provided for.

This amendment seems to go far wider than Senator Johnson claims. He suggested that disfigurement would apply only to a limited section of work people, those perhaps engaged in domestic service or whose business it is to make themselves presentable to the public. We must not forget, however, that every workman who may suffer permanent disfigurement would be entitled to this extra sum and there are numbers of workmen who would be in no way handicapped by disfigurement from carrying on their occupations.

I was about to make the same observation as Senator Sir John Keane. This Bill aims to provide compensation for the loss of earning power. If disfigurement results in the loss of earning power, compensation is payable. There is no necessity to amend the Bill to provide for that. Not merely is that a matter of opinion, but it is a matter of decided law. There are a whole lot of cases which make it quite clear that if the capacity of the worker to earn has been injured or lessened, compensation is payable. I have here a number of judgments to that effect. Incapacity for work is not the same as incapacity to work. It means the loss or diminution of wage-earning capacity. Compensation is awardable for obvious disfigurement calculated to reduce the chance of getting work. There is incapacity for work when a man has a physical defect which makes his labour unsaleable and there is partial incapacity for work when it makes a man's labour less saleable than would otherwise be the case. There are decisions about loss of teeth and eyes and so on. It is quite clear that if an accident results in disfigurement and the disfigurement lessens the earning capacity, compensation is payable upon a partial or upon a total basis. The only additional type of case brought in by the amendment is the case where disfigurement occurs but where there is no loss of earning power. It is not intended that compensation should be payable unless there has been a loss of earning power.

I can only say that I have no case if it is the established law that the reduction of the probability of being employed is compensatable. If that is the factor that is brought in then my case goes to the ground.

In each case it would be a question of fact for the court whether the worker's inability to get work after the accident was or was not due to disfigurement.

If the chances of his employment are reduced.

That is the whole case. Could the Minister say whether it is competent for the workman to appear before the court when it is provided that his disfigurement has reduced his chances of getting employment?

At a later stage?

He makes a claim for compensation on the grounds that he has been incapacitated from earning, wholly or partially, and he gets an award. Assuming he got partial compensation, if he was still unable to get work it would be open to him to go back to the court to urge inability to get work arising out of his injury, in which case there is discretion in the court and his partial incapacity might be treated as total incapacity for purposes of compensation.

I ask the permission of the House to withdraw the amendment so that I can report the matter to Senator O'Farrell with a view to considering what should be done on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On behalf of Senator O'Farrell, I move amendment 20:

New section. Before Section 24 to insert a new section as follows:—

24. Where a workman entitled to compensation under this Act has suffered injury of such a character as to necessitate the use of artificial limbs, he shall be entitled to be provided by the employer with such artificial limbs, and the employer shall be required to maintain such artificial limbs in good order and repair. The cost of providing such artificial limbs shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any other compensation to which such workman may be entitled under this Act.

This amendment seeks to embody in the Bill something that was suggested and urged by the Commission that dealt with the question.

"We recommend that in addition to the monetary compensation hereinafter proposed, provision should be made by employers for the supply and normal renewal of artificial limbs where such are deemed requisite."

The Minister laid stress on the report and on the practice in other countries. This amendment seeks to embody that recommendation in the Bill. The continual renewal of artificial limbs would surely be part of the obligation that this Bill generally seeks to impose on employers. I cannot understand why the recommendation of the Commission was not included. I would like to hear the Minister on the matter.

Where a poor man loses a limb the judge or arbitrator, in awarding compensation, should take into account that that man will need an artificial limb. As far as I remember the decisions upon the various Compensation Acts, that is an element which is taken into account. In regard to the formation of the amendment, I think the onus on the employer is very serious, not by reason of the fact that he is required to provide an artificial limb, but that he shall be required to maintain such artificial limb in good order and repair. If a man loses a leg he generally wanders about. How is the employer to keep that wooden leg in order and repair? The amendment needs to be recast, in any event, although I do not know what view the Minister takes of it.

I do not think this amendment would be a proper or a satisfactory one. From the point of view of the employer I believe it would be pretty well intolerable. Whatever compensation is to be given should be decided in order to have an end made of the matter. Otherwise an employer might find himself with a liability which would not end for 30 or 40 years.

It is in the Bill.

As far as this is concerned, I believe that provision would be made for ordinary compensation. The net result would be the same as far as the provision of an artificial limb is concerned.

The only case I have to make against the amendment is that it increases the amount of compensation. Where a worker is injured and is deprived of the possibility of earning or of the prospect of improving his position in life, one has always a certain amount of sympathy with him and desires to do what one can to alleviate the position. But against that one must try to maintain a reasonable attitude, having regard to the fact that the charge of providing for the worker is going to be imposed on his previous employer. In these matters we always think of big corporations, but it does not always work out that way. Very frequently the employer is not much better off than his workman. I can produce the case of a small farmer in County Roscommon who employed an agricultural labourer. The labourer was killed in the course of his work. The net result of the whole thing was that the son of the deceased workman took over the former employer's farm as a share of the compensation and employed the farmer as his workman. In that case I think the Act worked out much more to the detriment of the employer than it should have done. These cases will arise and one must bear them in mind when determining what compensation employers are going to be made pay. I agree with Senator Douglas that we should tell the employer that the amount of compensation he has to pay is so much in cash, not so much in cash plus an indefinite liability to repair artificial limbs for an indefinite period. If members of the Seanad think that the amount of compensation provided in the Bill is small we can discuss proposals to increase it. Any other proposal which has the indirect effect of increasing the amount of compensation by allocating the surplus to a particular purpose should, in my opinion, be rejected. We should determine the amount of cash to be paid and stick to that, allowing it to cover all considerations of this kind that might arise.

The Minister quite naturally always falls back on the amount of compensation payable in cash, but I think he does not take into account sufficiently what Senator Douglas and Senator Comyn have shown, any appreciation of the position of the poor worker. Bear in mind the position of a poor workman who earned 30/- weekly. The Bill limits the amount of compensation payable to him—and it might last for 30 or 40 years—to 22/6, out of which he has to provide for himself and his dependants.

He goes to the board of health.

In the case I have in mind the man lost both legs. He has to provide himself with artificial limbs, which later become unsuitable and have to be renewed. Senator Mrs. Costello says that such a man can go to the board of health. That is to say, that for the compensation reasonably attributable to the employer he has to go to the funds of the board of health. My suggestion is that this is a reasonable charge to place upon the employer. The Minister's case leads inevitably to the conclusion that he should have included in this Bill a compulsory insurance scheme. He spoke of the poor employer and I realise the strength of that case, but that is merely adding another argument in favour of a provision he failed to put into the Bill. In the case where the railway man lost both legs he was provided with artificial limbs, but no further liability rests upon the railway company. He has to renew them at his own expense or follow the advice of Senator Mrs. Costello, apply to the board of health. I submit that this is a reasonable amendment, and that part of the liability, where limbs are required, should fall upon the employer, who is responsible for compensation. If the payments were mandatory I still think there would be a case for this provision, when one bears in mind that the injured workman has to live out of the compensation. The amount projected is insufficient to provide for the workman and his family. The case for maintaining the workman's capacity to walk about is surely a reasonable one, and I am surprised that the Minister should be adamant in his opposition to it.

I do not think anyone is adamant about what is an extreme case. Take the case of a man who lost one leg who might be only partially incapacitated. In such a case as that the judge will take into account the fact that the man has to get an artificial limb or part of a limb.

But the maximum cannot be exceeded.

Taking the extreme case mentioned by Senator Johnson, where a man lost two legs and got the maximum compensation, that is a case deserving of consideration but it is not the case provided for in the amendment On the Report Stage would Senator Johnson limit his amendment to what he has proved to be reasonable and not by reason of an extreme case increase the liability of the employer in all cases, especially when, in the assessment of compensation in cases of partial incapacity, account is taken of the fact that the workman, in order to earn something, will probably have to get a wooden leg?

I agree with the view taken by Senator Comyn. I think it covers a good many of the amendments to the Bill. It is not a question of sympathy in an extreme case. In an extreme case I would have as much sympathy as Senator Johnson. We are dealing with a case where there is a bona-fide accident and where, as was emphasised by Senator Comyn, there was no question of negligence. Sometimes the employers are limited companies with many shareholders, paying dividends, and with large reserves. In most cases in this country the employers are generally small firms, who find it difficult to meet increasing expenses. This is a question of justice and of how much expense can be put upon them. We are discussing how much can reasonably be put upon employers where there is a bona-fide accident. I agree with the Minister that whatever burden is placed upon them it should be possible to assess it within a reasonable time, and that the matter should then end. Senator Johnson says that the payments might go on for 30 or 40 years. In that case there is no doubt that the injury would be regarded as one causing permanent incapacity and it would be dealt with as such by the court.

Amendment put and declared lost
(3) Every order under this section shall be made subject to the condition that it shall cease to be in force if the workman receives unemployment benefit.

I move amendment 21:—

Section 24, sub-section (3). To delete in lines 1-2 the words "made subject to the condition that it shall cease to be in force if" and to substitute therefor the words "reconsidered by the court if and when."

I do not anticipate that there will be a very prolonged discussion on this amendment. It is so reasonable that I am sure the Minister will gladly accept it. I feel that in the interval that has elapsed since he spoke on the Second Reading in reference to this section the Minister must have seen the reasonableness of what I am proposing. I am proposing to amend sub-section (3) of Section 24 by the deletion of certain words and the insertion of others which will then make the section read: "Every order under this section shall be reconsidered by the court if and when the workman receives unemployment benefit." What I have to say in support of that is very simple. The argument of the Minister, when resisting the suggestion that some amendment of this kind would be introduced, was that if a workman received even partial incapacity compensation and unemployment benefit he might be in receipt of more than his pre-accident earnings. He admitted, however, that that did not hold good in all cases, but he adhered to the example of the man whose pre-accident earnings were 40/- a week. He seemed to put forth the suggestion that accidents were confined to workmen earning 40/- a week. So far as that particular figure is concerned, the argument may be true, but the Minister himself admitted that it is not so in other cases. Probably there would be as many cases that do not conform to his example as there are cases that do conform to it, cases in which, if the persons concerned got full incapacity compensation, plus unemployment benefit, they would not be getting the equivalent, or anything like the equivalent, of their pre-accident earnings. The position is: a workman is incapacitated: after a period he is able to undertake light work: he resumes his payment of insurance stamps for a period: after a period of several months he loses that employment: he is then entitled, in the ordinary course, to secure unemployment benefit. Under the Bill, as amended on Report in the Dáil, power is given to him to go back to the court and be replaced on full incapacity benefit. The Minister's contention is that he should be deprived of the opportunity of drawing unemployment benefit. The point is that he has paid while in employment for this unemployment benefit. I hold that it does not follow, even if he draws unemployment benefit for the period for which he is insured, that he would be getting something in excess of his pre-accident earnings. I say there is a good case for this amendment, and that in such circumstances as I have mentioned the case should be reconsidered by the court. I ask the Minister to see the reasonableness of it and to accept it.

I cannot quite understand the amendment put forward by Senator Milroy. He proposes to strike out words providing that this compensation shall be subject to the condition that it shall cease to be enforced if the man gets unemployment benefit. The Senator proposes to insert words providing that the Order shall be reconsidered by the court if and when the workman receives unemployment benefit. On what basis is the court to reconsider it? It is all very well to say to the judge: "Well, this man has unemployment benefit. Reconsider his case." According to what principle is the judge to reconsider it? I think there is some defect in the amendment, and that it would be wrong that an Act of Parliament should go forth from the Seanad that could not be enforced I think the Senator will see that in his amendment he is providing no scale, no system, and no law upon which the judge is to act. I think, however, that this section itself could be somewhat improved, because, of course, it would be very wrong, in case a workman gets unemployment benefit which is less than the amount of his compensation, that he should lose the compensation. I was wondering whether it would not be possible on another stage to add the words "to the extent of the said unemployment benefit." However, I am sure that is a matter that has been fully considered. Some of the reasoning put forward by Senator Milroy is I think not sound. The contributions paid by the workman in respect of unemployment benefit are really a substantial part of the wages. I believe that is the principle upon which these payments are regarded: as being one in substitution of the other. The workman can get either by wages into his pocket or by payments in respect of unemployment benefit only what he has earned. You cannot take more out of the pocket than has been put into it. I think that Senator Milroy's amendment as framed would not work. If you were to go to a judge and ask him to reconsider it he would naturally ask you "What am I to reconsider?" Nothing.

Would the Senator read the section as it stands? "Every order under this section shall be made subject to the condition that it shall cease to be in force if the workman receives unemployment benefit." Is not what is to be reconsidered, the order?

The man is entitled under the order to compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Acts. If he goes and gets unemployment benefit that order is of no effect. That is the meaning of the section. What Senator Milroy suggests is that when he gets unemployment benefit the judge shall reconsider the order. On what principle? Do you authorise the judge to reduce the compensation by the amount of the unemployment benefit? You do not.

One of the matters at least that he would consider would be whether or not the getting of the unemployment benefit resulted in what the Minister alleged: that he was getting more than his pre-accident earnings, or whether the securing of unemployment benefit, plus the full incapacity compensation, left him with something less than his pre-accident earnings. That is a matter that would have to be considered by the court, whether the order should terminate or whether it should be continued.

But that is not what is said in the amendment. The amendment gives the judge authority to reconsider. It does not give him authority to do anything. It does not give him authority to annul the order. Therefore I do not think that this amendment can be considered on this stage.

Senator Milroy's difficulty in connection with this section led to a discussion on a previous stage of this Bill and unless we get clear on this it is likely to lead to a discussion on a later stage of the Bill. A difficulty experienced by a member of the other House led to a lot of discussion there. The Senator is trying to reconcile two things that are mutually contradictory. A person cannot get unemployment insurance benefit unless he is available for work and is genuinely seeking work. If the Senator can grasp that principle he will get a very clear idea of the section. A man cannot get unemployment insurance benefit unless he is available for and capable of taking work. If he is entitled to draw unemployment insurance benefit because he is available and capable of working he cannot at the same time be getting compensation on the basis that he is totally incapacitated from working. The Senator is trying to give him both, the benefit of his total incapacity compensation plus unemployment benefit, which is only payable on the basis that he is capable and available for work. He cannot get both. What the section proposes is to pay compensation to an injured workman who has so far recovered from an injury that he is available to do light work. If he is unable to get that light work because of circumstances resulting from the injury and not because of the conditions of the labour market or some other cause, then he may apply to the court. The court at its discretion may, instead of giving him the partial compensation which he is entitled to, give him compensation upon the basis of total incapacity, and, if so, he continues to get compensation.

Though he may be able to work.

Quite. He may be able to do work of a certain kind. In that event he continues to draw compensation on the basis of total incapacity until something happens, and that something must be one of two things: either he succeeds in getting work or else he succeeds in convincing the unemployment insurance authorities that he is available for and capable of work, in which case he gets the partial compensation that he is entitled to as set out in the Schedule to the Bill. If you were to give him total compensation plus unemployment insurance, then in 99 per cent. of the cases the worker would be getting, on account of the accident, substantially more than he was earning before the accident. He gets after the accident 75 per cent. of what he was earning before the accident. His total compensation is subject to a maximum of 75 per cent. The unemployment insurance contribution might be 24/- or 25/-. The pre-accident earnings must be at least four times that to mean that he was getting less after the accident in these circumstances than before.

I want to try to remove the Senator's difficulty. The provision there is that compensation on the basis of total incapacity to work ceases when the workman draws unemployment insurance benefit—in other words, when the workman has succeeded in establishing a claim for that benefit on the ground that he is available for and capable of work. The Senator cannot give the workman both things without bringing the two principles into conflict. He can be quite satisfied that no hardship is being done, because this section only contemplates a workman recovering from an accident being available for light work, and in the majority of cases that light work is remunerated at rates substantially less than the unemployment insurance benefit rates, which are, of course, available for all workers, no matter what their circumstances. When the Senator talks about this worker, having been injured, being put into an inferior position financially because of the accident, although he is drawing unemployment insurance benefit, he should remember that it is the standard rate of benefit that he gets, and a rate of benefit which is available for workers who are unemployed, and who are not unemployed in consequence of an accident. That is all they get, but at best he is in no worse position than any unemployed worker entitled to benefit and in a better position than any unemployed worker who has exhausted his right to benefit. This particular worker, however, has, in addition to that, whatever compensation from partial incapacity he has established a claim to, and I think we can be quite satisfied that he is fairly well provided for, having regard to the fact that if his unemployment insurance benefit stops, he can go back to the court and again get an order from the court entitling him to compensation at the full rate.

Is the Minister accepting the amendment?

The Minister, of course, is perfectly conversant with all the intricacies of this sub-section, but I think that the sub-section as it stands tends to prevent a workman from looking for work, and I think it would be greatly improved if Senator Milroy would change his amendment, and insert at the end of the sub-section a provision that the compensation should not cease altogether, but only to the extent of the unemployment benefit. I should like to see what answer there is to that, seeing that it is desirable that the injured workman should try to get work wherever he can get it.

Might I suggest that if that amendment were tabled by Senator Comyn, it would probably have a better chance of acceptance than if it were tabled by me?


That is for Report Stage. I cannot accept it now.

The Minister has referred several times to legislation on this matter in other countries. I think I am right in saying that while this provision was inserted in the British Act of 1925, it was definitely and deliberately deleted by the amending Act of 1931. I am not able to weigh up all the consequences, but it strikes me that this sub-section ought not to be in this Bill at all. It is mixing unemployment insurance with workmen's compensation in a manner that is not justifiable, and if the workman is to be deprived of unemployment benefit on the one hand, or of workmen's compensation on the other, we should leave workmen's compensation to stand by itself and make this a condition in the unemployment insurance code, and not in the workmen's compensation code.

That would mean a means test in the unemployment insurance code.

I think it would be more desirable there than here. I think the section in the Bill is an improvement on the present law, but I do not see the justification for putting this particular sub-section into this section. I think it would be better dealt with in another way.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 24, 25 and 26 agreed to.
(1) Where any weekly payment to a workman, whose incapacity is permanent, has been continued for not less than six months, the employer of such workman may, at any time after such workman has attained the age of twenty-one years and before he has attained the age of fifty years, apply to the court for an order redeeming his liability to make such weekly payment, and upon such application being made the court shall order that such liability shall be redeemed, as from the date of such application, by the payment by such employer of a lump sum of such amount as would, if invested on the date of such application in the purchase of an immediate life annuity, purchase an annuity for such workman equal to 75 per cent. of the annual value of such weekly payment.
(2) For the purposes of the immediately preceding sub-section a life annuity shall be deemed to be purchasable at a price calculated in accordance with the table set out in the Fourth Schedule to this Act and not otherwise.
(3) Where any weekly payment to a workman, whose incapacity is not permanent, has been continued for not less than six months, the liability of the employer of such workman for such weekly payment may, on application to the court by or on behalf of such employer, be redeemed by the payment of a lump sum of such amount as may be determined by the court.
(4) Any such lump sum as is mentioned in sub-sections (1) or (3) of this section may be ordered by the court to be invested or otherwise applied for the benefit of the person entitled thereto.
(5) Where an application is made under sub-section (3) of this section for the redemption of the weekly payment to a workman under the age of 21 years at the date of such application, the right which such workman, if the redemption did not take place, would have to have such weekly payment increased on a review under sub-section (2) of Section 25 (which relates to reviews of weekly payments) of this Act shall be taken into account.
Question proposed: "That the section stand part of the Bill."

On this section, there is a matter on which I wish to interrogate the Minister. I think this is the section which limits the redemption of the annuity to a certain age. I have not tabled any amendment on the matter because I simply want to find out the Minister's attitude. After the age of 50, it appears that this procedure cannot be pursued. I do not know why that particular age has been selected. It is not so much a question of the redemption, but rather a question of whether, after that age, it would not be reasonable or worth consideration that a person who is still entitled to weekly payments should be able to redeem them for a lump sum. I do not say that that should be at the discretion of the individual but there might be circumstances in which a lump sum at that age or some years after—say, between the ages of 50 and 60—might be of much more immediate and lasting benefit than the weekly payments. I can quite see circumstances in which the opposite would operate but the circumstances should come before a tribunal or umpire of some kind before which the workman would be able to present his case. He might be in a favourable position to start some little business through the medium of a lump sum instead of the weekly payments and if the character of the person was such and the circumstances commended themselves to the tribunal, which would be fully conversant with them, I think there should be some discretion allowed by which that lump sum should be provided instead of continuing to make the weekly payments. I mention this merely to get the opinion of the Minister and to find out whether it has been considered or whether it is deemed a procedure that might be considered by the Minister before the Bill passes through the House.

This provision applies in cases of workers who have been totally incapacitated. It provides that if the incapacity lasts for more than six months—and that is the test of whether it is likely to prove to be total incapacity or not—at the end of the six months, the employer at his discretion, can discharge his liability to that workman by paying him a sum, calculated in accordance with the table set out in the Schedule of the Bill, capable of providing for him an annuity for life equal to 75 per cent. of the compensation payment. That sum, obviously, becomes less as the age of the worker advances. If the worker is 21 years of age, it is going to cost the employer a lot more to discharge his liability by that payment than it would in the case of a worker of 49 or 50 years of age and we thought it desirable in the case of a worker who has reached the age of 50, at which age the sum would be substantially less than in the case of a man of 21 or 22 years of age, to stop and not allow the right to operate if the worker were older than that. The position, therefore, is that if a worker of 21 years of age is injured and his incapacity lasts for six months and in the opinion of the employer and his medical advisers, the incapacity is going to be permanent, the employer can completely discharge his liability by purchasing an annuity capable of yielding, say, 22/6 in the average case, for the price of £24 11s. per £. If the worker, however, were over 50 pears of age he does not get the annuity, but he gets the lump sum with which he can, if he wishes, purchase an annuity for himself or invest the sum in business of some kind which he thinks is going to provide enough for him. That is at his discretion.

The young man of 21 or 25 years of age, although totally incapacitated from following his normal occupation, from earning, might be able to use that sum in association with a business conducted by his relatives or something of the kind to provide adequately for himself in the future. When he is over 50, however, he cannot do that and he gets a very much smaller sum and is very frequently in the position that he has to provide for himself in any event, and in his case it is considered desirable that, instead of having that redemption arrangement by which the employer on payment of a lump sum can get rid of the liability, the weekly payments provided in the Bill should continue at whatever rate is fixed—in the majority of cases being the maximum rate of 30/- per week— until the death of the worker. In each case, of course, the employer gambles a little. If he thinks the workman is not likely to live very long, he will, no doubt, elect to continue the weekly payments but if he thinks the workman, although totally incapacitated, is likely to live for a long time, it is obviously in his interest to get rid of the liability by a lump sum payment at the earliest possible date but in the case of the workman over 50, the reasonable assumption is that he is not likely to live very long, having regard to the fact that he is so injured as to be incapable of working. In these circumstances, I do not think it is any hardship on the employer to require him to continue to make the weekly payments provided for in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this and the next following section, proceedings for the recovery under this Act of compensation for an injury shall not be maintained unless notice (in this Act referred to as notice of accident) in writing of the accident has been given as soon as practicable after the happening thereof and before the workman has voluntarily left the employment in which he was injured.

I move amendment No. 22:

Section 28, sub-section (1). Before the words "in writing" in line 14 the words "either orally or."

This is an attempt to insert in this section, dealing with notice of accidents, the words "orally or in writing" with a view to bringing this Bill into accord with the British Act in this respect. I do not see why the provision which allows notice to be given orally should not be included in this Bill. It has been found necessary where this kind of legislation has been subjected to a great deal of consideration and controversy. It is embodied in the British law and, I think, has been found a desirable improvement and in every way advantageous. I seek to insert that amendment here.

I have seen many cases of great hardship resulting from the fact that a man failed to get compensation because he had not served the statutory notice. If the notice is served orally and brought fully to the mind of the employer, I do not see why the workman should be prevented from getting compensation by reason of the fact that he did not sit down, take pen and ink, and write to his employer who might be living in the same house as himself. Probably the Minister has made other provisions later on in the Bill—I think he has to a certain extent—to deal with a matter of this kind but Senator Johnson has certainly pointed to a case where hardship has occurred under previous Acts of Parliament. I do not know what view the Minister takes of this.

I should like to know, before I could agree to an amendment of this kind, why the cases Senator Johnson has in mind are not covered by sub-section (2) because it seems to me that, in general principle, it is desirable that notice should be in writing. At the same time, one does not want to make that so rigid that it will act unfairly to the workman. In most cases, it is much better it should be in writing. I can conceive considerable difficulty arising in the case of a man who leaves his employment and says, some time afterwards, that he gave notice orally before he left, thus bringing himself within the section. Possibly, I have not enough experience but it does seem to me that sub-section (2) covers every case in which there would be a bona fide difficulty in giving notice in writing. It is desirable that, as a general rule, notice should be given in writing.

The insertion of this amendment would be of very doubtful benefit to the worker. I think it has been found elsewhere that the amendment of the Act by the inclusion of these words was of very doubtful benefit to the worker. It will be always much more difficult for the worker to prove that he gave oral notice of the accident than to prove that he gave written notice. I do not think that there is any worker who will not be able to get somebody to write to his employer to notify him of the accident, especially having regard to the provisions of sub-section (2) and to the fact that he has six months in which to give notice. The insertion of these words would, in my opinion, be an encouragement to the worker to neglect the essential safeguard of giving notice in writing. I strongly urge the Senator not to press this amendment.

Sub-section (2) applies only if there is some defect or inaccuracy in the written notice.

The sub-section refers to the "want of" written notice.

The absence of written notice would not operate against the workman if it were proved that the employer had knowledge of the accident.

If I were satisfied that that was the case, I should not press the amendment. It seemed to me that the very definite provision in sub-section (1) regarding written notice would make it very difficult for the workman to sustain his claim if there were no notice in accordance with the forms provided. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment for further consideration.

Did I understand the Minister to say that the workman has six months in which to give notice?

That is the practice. The words in the Bill are "as soon as practicable."

And before he leaves the employment.

The actual time is not stated?

No, but six months is regarded as "as soon as practicable."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 28 to 31, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment 23:—

Section 32, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "Provided that a workman residing outside Saorstát Eireann for reasons of health and on the advice of a medical practitioner or for any other sufficient reason shall be deemed not to have ceased to reside in Saorstát Eireann."

The place I have in mind is Northern Ireland. Sub-section (1) provides that if a workman receiving a weekly payment ceases to reside in Saorstát Eireann he shall thereupon cease to be entitled to receive any weekly payment unless a medical referee certifies that the incapacity resulting from the injury is likely to be of a permanent nature. I have in mind the case of an injured person who is likely to get better and who, on the advice of a medical doctor, goes to his home in the six counties. I suggest that such a person, when acting on the advice of a medical doctor, for reasons of health, should not be deemed to have ceased to reside in Saorstát Eireann. If a doctor advises that an injured workman should go to his own home in the Six Counties in order to hasten recovery, the workman should not lose by doing so his compensation under this measure. I do not think that there can be any strong argument against this amendment. The employer and the insurance company are safeguarded by the fact that very definite reasons are to be given for going outside the jurisdiction—reasons of health, on the advice of a medical doctor. We should not discourage a man from getting better in the earliest possible period. If, by going to his home in the North on the advice of a doctor, a man gets better quickly, that is to the advantage of everybody concerned.

I have no objection at all to the case made by Senator Johnson, but I have great objection to his amendment. If he provides in his amendment that an injured workman from the North of Ireland shall be entitled to go home while receiving compensation, I shall not oppose it, because an employer in the Free State would have no difficulty in keeping in touch with a workman in Northern Ireland. It would be easy to get medical evidence as to the man's state of health, and there is no reason why he should not be allowed to reside there. But I can see very considerable difficulty if that right be extended to other countries. There are very strong reasons why a man should not be allowed, particularly if there is danger of malingering, to go to some country where the employer would have no opportunity of ascertaining his state of health or getting proper reports concerning him. This amendment would permit the workman to go anywhere, and it would enable the malingerer to get, not only out of the jurisdiction, but out of the cognisance of the employer. If the amendment were altered so as to cover merely the case made by Senator Johnson, it would be eminently reasonable. This unnatural barrier in our own country should not be allowed to prevent a man going home to Northern Ireland if it is for the advantage of his health. I do not think that any difficulty would be raised in that connection by any employer or by any insurance company, though I cannot speak for the insurance companies.

I think that the question involved here could be met without going to the full extent of preventing a workman in receipt of compensation from going anywhere outside Saorstát Eireann. If, for reasons of health, he needs to go to the North of Ireland, I do not see why he should be prevented. If, for reasons of health, he requires to go to Great Britain, it is only reasonable he should be allowed to go. You do not want to make a man a prisoner simply because you give him compensation. I can see that the malingerer might go far afield on the advice of a doctor.

Or for any other reason.

It ought to be possible to frame a section which would deal with a person in that position while leaving it perfectly free to an honest workman who has received injury and who is in receipt of compensation to go to the north of Ireland or to England for health reasons if he thinks proper. The section is, I think, rather too drastic. I suggest that the Minister should consider the arguments put forward by Senator Johnson unless he has some special reason for not doing so.

The Bill, as drafted, permits a workman to go abroad if it is certified that his injuries are of a permanent nature. It is only where there are permanent injuries you can give that privilege because, in every other case, the employer is entitled at any time to have the workman medically examined, with a view to discovering whether he has become fit for work again or not. It would be of no advantage to the worker to give him the privilege of going abroad if he must return at any time the employer wishes to have himself medically examined for the purpose of ascertaining his capacity for work. There may be a case for giving special concessions in respect of the territory of Northern Ireland, where difficulties would not arise that might arise if the worker were to go farther afield, as Senator Comyn has stated. I think that the position as in the Bill is quite reasonable. It restricts the liberties only of workers who have been partially injured, who are likely to recover and on whose health it is necessary to keep a check. Workers certified as permanently injured are entitled to go abroad and draw compensation while away.

I am thinking only of the person who is likely to get better and who will be assisted in getting better rapidly if, following the advice of a medical doctor, he goes outside the Saorstát. If the Minister can assist in framing an amendment to enable the doctor to the insurance company or the employer to agree to his going outside, I am satisfied. While I am quite prepared to delete the words "or for any other sufficient reason" and while I have in mind in the main the application of the provision to persons going to reside in Northern Ireland, I should not like to restrict its application absolutely to cases of that kind. A doctor might advise a workman to go for a voyage around the coast on a British ship. In that case the workman would be going outside the jurisdiction.

He would not be "residing" outside the jurisdiction.

I do not know what the phrase "ceases to reside" means. The question of residence might have some application to the case of a man going for a sea voyage or going to Madeira for health reasons. I should like the Minister to consider this matter with a view to making it possible for a man receiving compensation in respect of temporary incapacity to go outside the Saorstát for health reasons. If the Minister will look into that matter and see how far he can meet the point, I shall be glad to withdraw the amendment.

I shall see if I can frame an amendment of that kind.

The Minister will, I hope, take into consideration the case of workers whose homes are in Northern Ireland and who have come here to work.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 32 to 36, inclusive, agreed to.

On behalf of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, I move amendment 24:—

Section 37. To delete the section and to substitute the following new section therefor:—

37. Until Rules of Court are made for the purposes of this Act, the Rules of Court for the purposes of the Acts repealed by this Act and in force at the commencement of this Act shall, with all necessary modifications, apply for the purposes of this Act.

I think that the reason for this amendment is obvious. The section in the Bill alters the whole procedure regarding Rules of Court and, but for this amendment, I was going to oppose it entirely.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 37, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 38 to 43, inclusive, agreed to.
Where compensation is payable under this Act in respect of injuries to a workman which result in his death and such workman leaves any dependants, the following matters, that is to say:—
(a) the amount of such compensation;
(b) the ascertainment of the dependants of such workman;
(c) the allocation of such compensation amongst such dependants,
shall be determined by the court and not otherwise.

On behalf of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, I beg to move amendments 25, 26 and 27:—

Section 44. To delete in line 21 the word "dependants" and to substitute therefor the words "adult dependant or juvenile dependant."

Section 44. To delete in line 24 the words "dependants of such workman" and to substitute therefor the words "person or persons entitled to such compensation."

Section 44. To delete in lines 25-26 the words "amongst such dependants."

These amendments are consequential upon amendments that were passed yesterday.

Amendments agreed to.

On Section 44, I want to ask the Minister a question. The section deals with the procedure by the court, the functions of the court and so forth. I would like to ask if it will be necessary for the employer and those who are seeking compensation to be represented by counsel. It is a matter of costs, and there has been a good deal of comment to-day by some Senators in regard to the impost you can place upon employers in connection with compensation. It may be that if employers have to be represented before the court by counsel to examine into these matters or watch their clients' interests, the costs may be quite substantial and may mean a serious increase to the moneys they will have to pay by way of compensation; especially if there is no dispute and if the matter is one upon which all parties are agreed, it would seem to be a wanton and needless expense for people to be represented by counsel, while the court is discharging its functions in the manner set out in this section.

There is no statutory obligation to be represented by counsel.

What would be the likely procedure? Is the case put forward by the dependants?

Quite frequently the workman appears in person to look after his own interests—when he is foolish. I think when he is wise he gets a solicitor.

Section 44, as amended, and Section 45, agreed to.
Every agreement in respect of which registration is sought under this Part of this Act shall be in writing and shall be signed by the parties thereto.

On behalf of Senator Foran, I beg to move amendment 28:—

Section 46. To add at the end of the section the words "and by two independent persons as witnesses, who shall testify that the agreement was freely entered into on the part of the workman and that to the best of their knowledge and belief he understood and approved its contents."

The intention of this amendment is to guard against the practice which has grown up of insurance companies, particularly through their agents, persuading men who are not in a fit condition to examine the case thoroughly, or even if they are in a fit condition physically, are not mentally aware of the consequences of what they are doing, to sign agreements without anybody being present able to advise them or warn them. Where a man is not alert and does not take advice, if he is a member of a trade union, from the union officials who have experience of these matters, the chances are that the insurance company will dangle a wallet of money in front of him, let him see sums far beyond his dreams of avarice apparently, compared with his normal weekly earnings. Within 12 months the man's case is utterly hopeless, because he has made an agreement and he had no conception at the time of how much he was depriving himself.

The object of the amendment is to put some safeguard against that kind of action on the part of insurance companies. I do not know whether any person familiar with the actions of insurance companies in this connection will deny what I am saying. Those who have experience of workmen's compensation cases have informed me that it is usual for the agents of insurance companies to go to a man when he is alone, very often when he is in hospital, and try to make an arrangement with him. I want to prevent that kind of thing happening without the man having a chance of getting advice from independent persons.

I am sure all members of the Seanad are anxious to guard against a workman being imposed upon by an insurance agent or anybody else. It frequently happens. I would like to be as strong as anybody in securing that. I have looked through the Bill, and I believe it is secured in a legal way. I would like to know whether this amendment has been drafted under advice, because if it has not, I would like to make the following comments upon it. The agreement must be signed by the workman, and, the amendment provides, by two independent persons as witnesses, who shall testify that the agreement was entered into on the part of the workman and to the best of their knowledge and belief he understood and approved the contents. Where are they to testify? Are they to testify on the document? Are they, before their signatures, to write: "We, the undersigned, hereby testify"?

Before the agreement is registered.

Must they come up as witnesses? I think that is an extremely dangerous thing, because if the two witnesses are to be attesting witnesses when they sign their names they attest that the agreement was freely entered into and that to the best of their knowledge and belief the workman understood and approved the contents. With an attestation like that coming before the judge in a disputed case there is a terrific onus imposed on the workman. He says: "I never understood; I did not understand the meaning of it; I was imposed upon." He may be imposed upon, not merely by insurance companies but by employers of various kinds. The workman says: "I did not understand my rights." The judge would be inclined to say very probably he did not, but if there are two independent witnesses there on the record testifying that they witnessed his signature, that he gave it freely and knew and understood it, it would be very hard for the workman to alter that agreement entered into and registered. I trust Senator Johnson and Senator Foran have fully considered this and understand all its implications. In my opinion it is a very dangerous amendment to make, speaking, as I do now, in the interests of the workman who is likely to be imposed upon.

I was about to raise a point similar to the point raised by Senator Comyn. I think this amendment would defeat its own purpose pretty badly. It would be comparatively easy for an employer who wanted to act unfairly to a workman to get other employees or clerks to sign this agreement and the matter would be finished. I have here a document called "Workmen's Compensation Bill." I will take any two or three sections of it and I will ask how many members of the Seanad are prepared to sign a certificate to the effect that they understand the whole of them. Personally I would hesitate to do so, and I am sure there are other Senators who would be in the same position. When you get a legal document drawn up by an insurance company or an employer, and a man is asked to certify, it is difficult for that workman to say sincerely that he understands it all. Anything that can be done to provide that a workman should go to a solicitor before he signs a document would be all to the good.

As regards any cases I have had, I always told the worker to go to a solicitor. I know, as a matter of fact, the insurance companies pay a solicitor's fee. I always said: "Do not come to me to seek advice; go to a solicitor." That ought to be the practice. In my own experience the insurance companies never object, and most of them prefer that the workman would have a solicitor. This would tend to substitute the solicitor and it would be dangerous. I urge Senators not to support the proposal. In cases where people might want to be unscrupulous it would be a very easy way out of the difficulty.

We are not actually wedded to the words in the amendment. Our experience has been that in very many cases workmen who have been awarded weekly payments have been approached by the insurance companies concerned, and these companies, in many cases, have made tempting offers to the workmen after the case was disposed of in the courts. They have offered lump sums, and the workmen in many cases did not bother about going to a solicitor. An unfortunate man who would be offered £50 and who never saw that amount before would be only too anxious to grab at it. Workmen have done so, much to their detriment. Men nearly totally incapacitated would be awarded a weekly payment spread over many years, and then they would be offered a lump sum of £50. This practice was brought to my notice by a prominent court official who had something to do with the administration of these cases. He suggested that we should try to get the trade unions concerned to keep in touch with their members who would meet with accidents and who would be awarded compensation so as to prevent them making agreements they did not understand. As a matter of fact, he said workmen were being swindled.

Before any agreement is made as regards the acceptance of a lump sum, some steps ought to be taken to safeguard the worker's position, and somebody ought to witness the agreement he makes. I can see some force in what Senator Comyn said, that it might be to the detriment of the workman. The workman should be made fully aware of his position and of what the agreement means. Unfortunately, large numbers of workers when they get legal documents do not understand them; they cannot be expected to understand them. People in poor circumstances who happen to be offered a large sum by way of settlement find it very tempting.

Personally I think it would be advisable if these people always consulted a solicitor. Members of trade unions receive free legal advice when fighting claims under the Workmen's Compensation Acts. The trade union of which I am a member does that. That is one of the benefits of the trade unions. If a member happens to meet with an accident the union concerned accepts responsibility for all legal expenses necessary to prosecute a claim for compensation. We always endeavour to get members to go to a solicitor and to have his advice. Notwithstanding that, we know from experience that, in very many cases, workmen make agreements with insurance companies or with employers that are detrimental to their own interests. We would be satisfied if there were some safeguard in the Bill so that when an agreement is made the person making it is, at least, cognisant of the contents of any document that he may sign.

At one time I had a good deal of experience of agreements in connection with the Workmen's Compensation Acts. I cannot recall a single case in which duress, a word which has been mentioned here, was used in connection with an agreement. As Senator Douglas pointed out, it has been the constant practice, before entering into any agreement, to consult a solicitor. I agree with Senator Douglas that if the amendment is accepted, and if witnesses were to be brought in for the purpose of certifying to an agreement, it would open up a vista of collusion which, to my mind, would be extremely objectionable. These agreements are always subject to court action afterwards. It is always open to the court to examine the witnesses and to determine if the agreement was a reasonable and a fair one. I do not think that an unfair advantage is taken or that there is duress when framing the agreements.

I am quite satisfied that the amendment suggested by Senator Johnson would have a very different effect from what he intends. This Bill provides adequate safeguards against a worker being dragged into an agreement that would be detrimental to his own interests. It has been urged against the Bill that it will be impossible to make agreements at all. We provide, first of all, that an agreement must be registered. That is a change in the existing law. Another important point is that the court registrar has discretion for any reason that seems to him to be sound to hold up the agreement and to refer it for examination by the Circuit Court Judge. Under these circumstances I think we have all the safeguards that are necessary. We have provided, instead of two witnesses, that the court registrar is to have full power to examine the agreement, and if he sees anything in it that he considers detrimental to the workman he can refer it to the judge for examination. In that case the possibility, under the new circumstances, of the same complaint arising as arose in the past will be very much less. There will be always foolish people in the world, who will not take the trouble to consult even the most elementary advice. We have tried our best to prevent them suffering from the effects of such foolishness. Undoubtedly up to the present there have been many complaints that workmen were tricked. Even when they get legal advice it was not always very sound, and they made agreements which might be different. Having regard to the fact that agreements must be registered under this Bill, must be in the form set out in the machinery, and that it is within the discretion of the court registrar to hold them up, I think these cases are not likely to arise now.

I am prepared to agree with what the Minister said, that this Bill provides safeguards that were not there before. In view of that I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 46 to 52 inclusive, agreed to.
(2) Such application shall state whether the workman who is a party to the agreement is an insured person or not and in the event of his being an insured person shall state the name and address of the approved society by which sickness or disablement benefit under the National Health Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1933, payable to such workman is administered, and shall also contain such other particulars as may be required by Rules of Court.
(3) Upon receipt of any such agreement and application, the county registrar shall serve notice of the reception thereof by him on all parties interested therein and, if the workman is an insured person, also on the approved society concerned, and no such agreement shall be registered under this Act until the expiration of seven days after the date of the service of such notice.

On behalf of Senator Duffy I move amendment 29:—

Section 53, sub-section (2). After the word "not" in line 61 to insert the words "and whether he is a member of a trade union or not."

This amendment aims at bringing the position of the trade unions into line with the position of a health insurance society. The functions of the trade unions to a very large degree are identical with that of a health insurance society in this matter. It is thought desirable that a trade union shall have notification when there is an application to the court. An applicant is required by the Bill to state whether he is an insured person or not and of what insurance society he is a member. The amendment asks that he shall state if he is a member of a trade union and, if so, of what trade union. Frankly, the object is to try to ensure that trade unions shall be made cognisant of the fact that there is an attempt to make an agreement and that they shall be apprised of it. Senator Farren has hinted that in many unions the greater part of their activities in times of comparative peace is devoted to dealing with workmen's compensation cases, and that some unions have special departments for specialising on this aspect of their work. We desire that that should be recognised in this Bill, and that they should be put in the position of health insurance societies. As it happens, there will be only one health insurance society in a couple of years, but there will probably be several trade unions. What we seek is that trade unions should be apprised of what is happening in respect of workmen's compensation.

This amendment is somewhat similar to the last amendment, except that an agreement made when a man is a member of a trade union should be sent to the head office of the union, where they will be in a position to advise the member or to see that their solicitor will be acquainted with the terms of the agreement.


Whether he is a member of a union or not?

The man is required to state whether he is a member or not and if he is the trade union should be notified.

Senator Farren stated that the purpose of this amendment was the same as the last one. I certainly assumed that when I saw it and I came to the conclusion that it was just as unnecessary as the last safeguard. I am not quite sure from Senator Johnson whether he was putting this forward as a safeguard. Persons to whom notice of accidents is given in Section 52 are persons or organisations interested in the amount of the compensation; the trade union is not. If a workman is injured, or if he is killed, legal facilities have been provided for those who make a claim and they will certainly be notified. It would be a dangerous innovation to bring in this amendment. I would not be prepared to agree to it until I am much more clear as to what it is likely to lead to. As a safeguard for the worker it is not necessary and for the mere purpose of being a safeguard for the trades union when action is taken it is not necessary. The amendment might work out in a way that would be undesirable.

If the Minister is opposed to the amendment I cannot press it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments 30 and 31 not moved.
Sections 53 to 55 agreed to.
(2) Where an agreement made with a person under a disability, or any commutation agreement, redemption agreement, or agreement by way of compromise has been registered by the county registrar in accordance with this section, the court may on the application of any notice party made within six months from the date of such registration make an order cancelling such registration if satisfied that such agreement was obtained by fraud, undue influence or other improper means.

On behalf of Senator O'Farrell, I move amendment 32:—

Section 56, sub-section (2). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "or that, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the sum payable under such agreement is insufficient."

This amendment deals with a case where no objection has been made to the agreement for redemption. We seek to give power to the court if satisfied in regard to other circumstances that it is insufficient to refuse to register the agreement. As drafted the Bill restricts this objection to cases of fraud. The amendment seeks to extend that power of cancellation, if it is satisfied that the amount agreed to was entirely inadequate. In view of the arguments put forward on the previous amendment, that the injured person would be secured against that kind of inadequacy, this amendment is sustainable, and should be inserted, so that power to cancel would not apply only in cases of fraud or of undue influence. If a man made an absolutely foolish agreement in regard to his own care and maintenance the agreement should be disallowed.

I oppose this amendment for the reason that an agreement freely made between people, without fraud, duress, undue influence or any improper means, should be enforceable. That is the law that governs ordinary affairs between rich and poor, young and old. Why should not the same law apply in the case of these agreements? This would put the injured workman outside the ordinary law which I think should not be interfered with. It provides sufficient protection. and if a man makes an agreement, even though he could get a few shillings more, I do not think the agreement ought to be set aside. If there was an agreement fairly entered into and obtained without fraud, undue influence or any other improper means that ought to be enough, I think, for any workman or any person. It is regarded as being sufficient for the ordinary citizen, and I think it ought to be sufficient for the worker too.

Senator Comyn reminds me of so many arguments of that kind that have been used so often when dealing with the workman. I am sure that Senator Comyn has familiarised himself with certain American practices, the great Trusts making a perfectly fair agreement with a man without three-halfpence behind him. The two bodies are perfectly fair. It is an entirely fair agreement. The law must treat one person on an equality with another person notwithstanding the circumstances of the case. It is quite true, as Senator Comyn says, that the law normally treats an agreement made freely in this way as valid and sustainable, but the law has made many exceptions. The law has come to the aid of the incompetent person making a freely entered into agreement with a very strong person on the other side. There is the notion that two persons, because they are individuals before the law, are therefore equally capable of entering into an agreement without any special advantage on one side over the other. I can imagine Senator Comyn making that case in the courts when he is pleading for a particular class of client, but I can hardly imagine him making that case in the Legislature if he has had any regard to the very weak position that the citizen may be in in relation to a very strong corporation, and particularly as in this case when a question of money on the one hand, apparently a large sum, is dangled before the man who is very much in need of even a small sum. That is not a good case against this amendment. I think the amendment is quite a sound one by itself, and that the courts should have some right to interfere with an agreement if it is utterly inadequate to the circumstances.

I agree largely with Senator Comyn, but there is another side to this which I think is forgotten. In effect, the attitude of Senator Johnson is it is a bad thing to make an agreement.

I want as few agreements as possible.

My opinion is that you can very often make a better agreement than by going to court. The effect of this amendment would be that there would be no use in making an agreement at all. I cannot conceive any agreement under which you could not find some person to come along and say that it should be disputed within six months. Take the case of the larger people—of the insurance companies. The insurance companies do not always want to go to court. I believe that in many cases you can do much better by making an agreement than you can by going to court. The effect of the amendment would simply mean that no agreement made even with the best solicitor in Dublin would be binding until after the six months had elapsed. Such a position, in my opinion, would be extremely unsatisfactory. If you carry the amendment, and you want to be absolutely just, you must also provide that the other party will have the right to go to court and say that too large an amount has been given.

Senator Johnson has ignored the fact that before the agreement has got to the stage where it can be annulled it has been registered and subjected to all the safeguards provided in the Bill, including the safeguard of scrutiny by the court registrar. When the agreement is presented for registration the registrar has to examine it and he has to satisfy himself either that it is an agreement that he can register, or he can refer it to the court and have it registered by order of the court. The question of the adequacy of the amount arises at that stage. This sub-section merely provides that at any time within six months after the registration of the agreement, having given the required notice, the parties can go to the court if they have obtained evidence in the meantime that the agreement was obtained by fraud, undue influence or improper means, and secure its cancellation. If the question of the adequacy of the amount has been settled at the time of registration and if there is no question of fraud, or undue influence or improper means, and that in every way the agreement was fairly entered into by the workman, it should not be possible for him at a later stage to change his mind and put the employer to the expense of defending the agreement again in court.

It seems to me that we have at this particular stage passed the point at which the adequacy of the amount comes up for consideration. The only question that arises is whether, in fact, there was fraud in connection with the agreement, fraud which may not be always on the side of the employer. On that account I think it would be undesirable from the workman's point of view that we should bring in the question of the amount at this stage at all, because it is undoubtedly correct, as Senator Douglas said, that if you provide for the cancellation of the agreement on the ground that the amount is inadequate, then you must give the other party an equal right to object on the ground that it was excessive. Apart altogether from that, by the time that stage has been reached the adequacy of the amount has been settled, and the only question that arises is whether the whole agreement was properly arrived at or not.

I am sure that Senator O'Farrell would have had much more effective arguments than I have been able to bring forward in favour of the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 56 to 71, inclusive, agreed to.

As regards amendment 33, in the name of Senator Foran, I think it better to postpone that to the Report Stage.

33. New section. Before Section 72 to insert a new section as follows:—

72. Nothing in this Act shall impair or modify the provisions of sub-section (3) of Section 11 of the National Insurance Act, 1911, as amended by Section 19 of the National Health Insurance Act, 1918, in so far as these provisions relate to the payment of moneys by approved societies to persons injured by accident pending the determination of their claims to compensation under this Act.

The amendment is unnecessary. It states that nothing "in this Act shall impair or modify," etc. Nothing in the Act does impair or modify the Acts referred to.

Amendment not moved.
A weekly payment payable under this Act or any scheme certified under this Act or any sum paid by way of redemption thereof shall not be capable of being assigned, charged or attached, and shall not pass to any other person by operation of law, nor shall any claim be set off against the same.

I think that amendments 34, 35 and 36 might be taken together.


I move amendments 34, 35 and 36:—

34. Section 72. Before the words "A weekly" in line 12 to insert the words "Subject to the provisions of the next following section."

35. Section 72. To delete in lines 13-14 the words "paid by way of redemption thereof" and to substitute therefor the words "payable under an order of the court redeeming a weekly payment or under a redemption agreement, a commutation agreement or an agreement by way of compromise."

36. New section. Before Section 73 to insert a new section as follows:—

73.—(1) Where—

(a) the court makes an order fixing the amount of a weekly payment or an order directing a weekly payment agreement to be registered under Part VI of this Act, and

(b) any moneys (in this sub-section referred to as the debt) lent by a trade union to the workman since the date of the accident are still owing and unpaid,

the court may, if it so thinks fit, upon the application of the trade union made immediately upon the making of such order, direct the employer to pay on behalf of the workman to the trade union such sum (not exceeding the arrears then due in respect of the weekly payment nor the amount of the debt) as the court may fix, and, if such direction is given, the payment by the employer to the trade union of the sum so fixed shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be a payment by the employer to the workman in respect of the weekly payment.

(2) Where—

(a) the court makes an order for the redemption of a weekly payment or an order directing a redemption agreement, a commutation agreement or an agreement by way of compromise to be registered under Part VI. of this Act, and

(b) any moneys (in this sub-section referred to as the debt) lent by a trade union to the workman since the date of the accident are still owing and unpaid,

the court may, if it so thinks fit, upon the application of the trade union made immediately upon the making of such order, direct the employer to pay on behalf of the workman to the trade union such sum (not exceeding the lump sum specified in such first-mentioned order or such agreement (as the case may be) nor the amount of the debt) as the court may fix, and, if such direction is given, the payment by the employer to the trade union of the sum so fixed shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act a payment by the employer to the workman in respect of the said lump sum.

(3) The costs of a trade union in relation to an application under this section shall be borne by the trade union.

(4) An application by a trade union under this section may be made on behalf of the trade union by an officer of the trade union.

Reference has been made in a previous discussion to the fact that it appears to be the practice of trade unions to advance to injured workmen sums of money for the maintenance of themselves and their families or to enable them to prosecute their claims under the Workmen's Compensation Acts. It has been represented that trades unions sometimes find a difficulty in recovering from workmen the sums that they have so advanced, and that on that account many of them are inclined and that more are becoming inclined to refuse under such circumstances to lend money to injured workmen. The result is that employers and insurance companies on occasion get away with settlements which are unjust to workmen. These amendments will entitle a trade union to go to court and, subject to the absolute discretion of the court, there request that any such sums advanced shall be repaid to them. We are at the same time making it easier for the workman to provide the funds that he needs for the prosecution of his claim. Any injustice that has arisen out of the operation of the Workmen's Compensation Acts has arisen in consequence of the inability of a workman to hold out while his claim was under consideration. He requires money to fight his claim and for the support of his family. If the insurance company can succeed in prolonging the period during which the claim comes up for consideration the workman frequently gets into the position in which he must accept any settlement offered to him. To get over the difficulty advances are made by a trades union, but the trades union cannot do that unless it can recover the advance when compensation has been awarded. This new section will enable a trades union to take action to that end. It is necessary in order to protect the interests of workers.

I am glad that the Minister has seen his way to insert a section of this character. It is a very necessary section. It makes for adequate provision for the worker. The weekly payments which are to accrue after the award are not in any way hypothecated. It is only the arrears that are hypothecated to satisfy the insurance company. On the Second Reading the Minister called attention to the fact that for 20 years under the Workmen's Compensation Acts then in force the trades unions advancing money had no claim against the workman. Now I think it is right that they should have a claim in respect of moneys advanced by them after the accident and before the award. I do not think that it is a fault confined entirely to workmen; that people who get money are sometimes not very eager to repay it. A workman, as well as a man in a better walk of life, is very apt to take the advice and to follow the motto of Falstaff, "Base is the slave who pays." When he gets his compensation he is not inclined to pay the society that advanced him money when he was in need. It is perfectly right, I think, that he should be compelled, out of the compensation awarded to him, to pay the society that stood by him when in need such a reasonable amount as the judge considers proper in respect of the sums advanced. I am very glad that the Minister has brought forward this amendment.

This amendment tries to make it easier to get claims prosecuted in the future than in the past, and to that extent I am in agreement with it. The idea is that it will make it easier for trade unions to advance money, virtually to act on behalf of their members in going to court if necessary. No reasonable person objects to a trade union acting in that way on behalf of its members. It seems to me that as a corollary to this since you are giving them a legal preferential claim they should be made liable for costs in cases where they come to court and lose the claim altogether. If you are dealing with big companies, one would not very much mind, because they can stand a certain amount, but a great many of the employers are not rich, and it seems to me that you are giving a privilege, and really a first claim to the insurance company, in respect of money advanced. They are virtually acting for you, and where a claim is prosecuted with their approval and advice and the claim is lost, I think there is a case for their having to bear the costs, as it certainly is against a poor employer. Otherwise, I entirely agree.

The Minister has, I think, made the point perfectly clear. Trade unions, as I said before, do provide, as a benefit for their members, free legal assistance to prosecute a claim for workmen's compensation, but that is not what is being dealt with here. As the Minister has said, long delays occur from the time of the accident until the case is heard in court. I have known nine or ten months to elapse before decisions were given in the court. In the meantime, the workman is without the means of subsistence, and if the trade unions, in order to enable the man to carry on, in addition to providing the free legal advice, advance to him what will keep body and soul together, or keep his home going during the period, and when the case does come to trial, if an award is made, the trade union is entitled to go before the court at its own cost—the amendment provides that it shall pay its own costs—and ask the court to refund to it out of the compensation awarded to the workman the amount of money that has been advanced to him to enable him to keep body and soul together during the period that elapses from the date of the accident to the date of the trial. That is all the amendment seeks to do, and I think it is fairly reasonable. It is not asking more for trade unions than anybody else has got. All the amendment seeks to do is to entitle them to recover sums advanced, and I think it ought to be accepted.

I am not objecting to that, but at the same time it is only right that I should point out that it does something more than that. It gives them a preferential right over anybody else who has advanced sums.

It does, definitely. The Minister did not answer my point with regard to costs where a claim is made.


I do not think you asked a question. You merely stated a case.

I take it that Senator Douglas's difficulty is that this may encourage litigation on behalf of members by trade unions.

I have no objection to that if they are good cases, but suppose they are bad?

If it is a bad case, the trade union loses in any event. Unless the workman actually succeeds in establishing his claim for compensation, any moneys advanced to the workman under this section are lost to the trade union. It is only where he succeeds in his case that the trade union can recover.

That is all right so far as money advanced by them is concerned, but what about the costs?

This section gives them no more inducement to fight a bad case than they had previously.

As a matter of fact, for the benefit of Senator Douglas, the procedure in the trade union is that the workman lodges his claim with the trade union. The claim is then sent to the legal adviser—the solicitor concerned—of the trade union. He examines all the evidence in support of the case and if the solicitor advises the trade union that the workman has a bona fide case, the trade union incurs the responsibility for legal costs in going to court, but they are not prepared to do that if there is not a good case. It is only on the advice of a solicitor that a trade union goes to court. They never go otherwise and they do not go to court every time a man comes in and says “I want you to go to court” because they could not afford it. It is only when the solicitor advises the trade union that the workman has a good case in law that they proceed with the case on behalf of the workman.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 35:—

Section 72. To delete in lines 13-14 the words "paid by way of redemption thereof" and to substitute therefor the words "payable under an order of the court redeeming a weekly payment or under a redemption agreement, a commutation agreement or an agreement by way of compromise."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 72, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 36:—

New section. Before Section 73 to insert a new section as follows:—

73.—(1) Where—

(a) the court makes an order fixing the amount of a weekly payment or an order directing a weekly payment agreement to be registered under Part VI of this Act, and

(b) any moneys (in this sub-section referred to as the debt) lent by a trade union to the workman since the date of the accident are still owing and unpaid,

the court may, if it so thinks fit, upon the application of the trade union made immediately upon the making of such order, direct the employer to pay on behalf of the workman to the trade union such sum (not exceeding the arrears then due in respect of the weekly payment nor the amount of the debt) as the court may fix, and, if such direction is given, the payment by the employer to the trade union of the sum so fixed shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be a payment by the employer to the workman in respect of the weekly payment.

(2) Where—

(a) the court makes an order for the redemption of a weekly payment or an order directing a redemption agreement, a commutation agreement or an agreement by way of compromise to be registered under Part VI of this Act, and

(b) any moneys (in this sub-section referred to as the debt) lent by a trade union to the workman since the date of the accident are still owing and unpaid,

the court may, if it so thinks fit, upon the application of the trade union made immediately upon the making of such order, direct the employer to pay on behalf of the workman to the trade union such sum (not exceeding the lump sum specified in such first-mentioned order or such agreement (as the case may be) nor the amount of the debt) as the court may fix, and, if such direction is given, the payment by the employer to the trade union of the sum so fixed shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act a payment by the employer to the workman in respect of the said lump sum.

(3) The costs of a trade union in relation to an application under this section shall be borne by the trade union.

(4) An application by a trade union under this section may be made on behalf of the trade union by an officer of the trade union.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 37:—

New section. Before Section 73 to insert a new section as follows:—

73.—(1) Section 4 of the Notice of Accidents Act, 1906, shall have effect as if for sub-section (1) thereof the following sub-section were substituted:—

(1) Where an accident occurs in a factory or workshop which either—

(a) causes loss of life to a person employed in the factory or workshop, or

(b) disables any such person for more than three days from earning full wages at the work at which he was employed,

written notice of the accident, in such form and accompanied by such particulars as the Minister may prescribe, shall forthwith be sent to the inspector of the district.

(2) Section 1 of the Notice of Accidents Act, 1906, so far as it relates to metalliferous mines and quarries, shall have effect as if for the words "and disabled for more than seven days any person employed in or about the mine or quarry from working at his ordinary work" there were substituted the words "and disabled for more than three days any person employed in or about the mine or quarry from earning full wages at the work at which he was employed."

(3) Paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 18 of the Coal Mines Act, 1911, shall have effect as if for the words "and disabled for more than seven days any person employed in or about the mine from working at his ordinary work" there were substituted the words "and disabled for more than three days any person employed in or about the mine from earning full wages at the work at which he was employed."

(4) This section shall be construed as one with the Notice of Accidents Act, 1906, or the Coal Mines Act, 1911, as the case may require.

This seeks to insert in the Bill the provision which is contained in the British 1923 Act. The particular point about it is that the notice of accident under the Notice of Accidents Act, shall be given in respect to injury which disables a person for more than 3 days. As the Bill provides a waiting period of 3 days and as the Notice of Accidents Act, at present applicable, deals with injuries in respect of 7 days, this attempts to bring the Notice of Accidents Act into relationship with this Bill in regard to the period of 3 days as against the period of 7 days which is in the present statute dealing with this matter.

The intention was to effect in the Factories Bill which it is proposed to introduce in the coming session of the Dáil, the changes in the Notice of Accidents Act suggested by Senator Johnson in sub-sections (1) and (2) of his proposed new section, and I suggest that such an amendment will be more appropriate on that Bill than on this. Sub-section (3) of the Senator's amendment would more appropriately be met by amending the Coal Mines Act, but I do not see that any opportunity of effecting that amendment is likely to arise in the near future. I am agreeable to produce here on Report Stage an amendment effecting in this Bill the amendment of the Coal Mines Act suggested in sub-section 3 of the Senator's amendment leaving sub-sections 1 and 2 to be dealt with in the Factories Bill, which is already in draft.

Do I understand that the Factories Bill is in draft?

There is the case I raised yesterday with regard to expenses outside the area. I intend to put down an amendment in the hope that the Minister will do something very much better to give the employer the right to use the workman's name. It is touched on in this amendment of Senator Johnson's.

Amendment withdrawn.
Amendment 38 not moved.
(1) Every employer in any prescribed industry shall on or before the prescribed day in every prescribed year send to the Minister a correct return specifying the number of injuries in respect of which compensation has been paid by him under this Act during the previous year the amount of such compensation and such other particulars as may be prescribed.
(2) If any employer in any prescribed industry makes default in complying with this section he shall be guilty of an offence under this section and be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.

I move amendment No. 39:—

Section 73, sub-section (1). To delete all after the word "specifying" in line 19 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the following:—

(a) the number of workmen within the meaning of this Act employed by him during the previous year;

(b) the number of such workmen injured by accident within the meaning of this Act (specifying separately fatal and non fatal accidents);

(c) the amount of compensation paid in respect of such injuries or otherwise;

(d) whether the liabilities arising under this Act were covered by insurance and, if so, the name of the insurer;

(e) the value of the premiums paid to such insurer;

(f) such other particulars as may be prescribed.

The provision sought to be inserted here is dealt with up to a point in the Order which was issued last year under the Workmen's Compensation Acts, and all I would require to be assured of is that the Order which was issued in 1932 will be reproduced under this Act. There is, however, another point which is not dealt with in the Order but which is dealt with in this amendment, and that is the statement made as to the value of the premiums paid to each insurer. Frankly, the object of this scheme of things is to give the Minister knowledge of the cost of insurance to the companies, the amount of risk that is involved in insuring, and the amount that the insurance company receives by way of premiums to meet those risks. The only difference between the Order now in force and the amendment here is that we seek to have made available to the Minister the amount of money paid by way of premiums to the insurance companies. He may say that he is able to get them in another way, but, up to 1924, he was not, and I think up to 1933 he has not been able to get the moneys available to the insurance companies out of insurance in Saorstát Eireann. The aim here is to get the Minister in a position to assess the whole question of workmen's compensation insurance and see whether it cannot be done in a more economical manner both for the insurance companies and for prospectively injured persons.

That is a matter which might perhaps be discussed on another occasion. The main question that arises is whether the particulars to be furnished should be prescribed by regulation or by Act. Under Section 73, we have power to prescribe regulations in respect of particulars required, and it is better to have it that way, because regulations can be altered by additional regulations, whereas an Act can only be changed by an amending Act.

I agree, but I hope the Minister will bear in mind the fact that a good many firms have been put to considerable expense in answering questions and that that has created real difficulty. I am not objecting to necessary questions, and I am sure he will bear in mind the fact that there are many people who would like to have almost every conceivable question answered so that they could ask questions here or in the Dáil. I suggest that only the minimum number of questions and not the maximum should be prescribed, because it entails a genuine difficulty for many firms.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and the First Schedule agreed to.

I move amendment No. 40:

Second Schedule. Rule 3. To delete in line 32, page 36, the words "in order of seniority of birth."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 41:

Second Schedule. Rule 5. To add at the end of Rule 5 a new paragraph as follows:—

(3) No deduction shall be made under this rule so as to reduce the sum payable to the dependants of such workman below two hundred pounds.

I hinted yesterday of my intention in regard to this amendment. It is designed to ensure that where a person who has made an agreement for redemption for a lump sum dies as a consequence of injury and his relatives make a claim for compensation for loss of life, the amount left after deducting the amount that has been paid by way of redemption from the amount due to the relatives by way of compensation for death shall not be reduced below £200. It is practically insurance for £200 for the relatives when a man dies as a result of an accident and I do not think it is unreasonable. The agreement has been entered into on the assumption that the man is going to have a long life but due to his lack of knowledge of his own physical condition and the extent of the injury, he dies after making the agreement. He has been unable to maintain his family in the condition in which he would like to have maintained them had he been physically able and he has exhausted all the reserves he may have had. He dies as a consequence of the injury and his family is left probably without anything. I want to ensure that his family will be insured by not less than £200, even though the workman has made an agreement by way of redemption, and that the sum being deducted from the compensation for death shall not bring the sum due to the relatives below an amount of £200.

Senator Johnson probably sees one of the effects of this amendment—that very few agreements would be made. It would be obviously much more costly for an employer to enter into such an agreement if, having determined the amount to be paid under the agreement, he still retains a liability for £200 more than he would if he merely continued to make the weekly payments. The circumstances in which this case would arise would be where the worker was injured, but not killed, in an accident, the injury being of a permanent nature and involving the payment by the employer of compensation in the form of weekly payments. At the end of six months, or earlier by agreement, the employer decides to take advantage of his powers under the Act and, by order of the court or agreement with the workman, he releases himself from the liability to continue the weekly payments in consideration of the payment of a lump sum. If the worker dies following the making of that agreement and the payment of that lump sum and death is attributable to the accident, so that compensation will be payable on death under this schedule, then the Bill provides that the amount paid by way of lump sum, in commutation of the liability to continue weekly payments, shall be deducted from the amount payable on death. That seems to be reasonable in the circumstances. To provide that, in the case of death, in addition to that lump sum by the payment of which the employer discharges liability, another £200 should be payable would be to increase substantially the liability of the employer and make it less likely that the employer would undertake to get rid of the weekly payment by the payment of a lump sum, whether the worker wanted it or not. It is common experience that workers frequently prefer the lumpsum payment to the weekly payment. In any event, I think that it would be unreasonable to do that. I admit that these agreements are not, as a rule, made until six months after the accident and the employer is quite sure that the worker is not going to recover. The farther away you get in time from the accident the more difficult it is to prove that death, when it occurred, was attributable to the accident, so that the worker's relatives, in these circumstances, would have considerable difficulty in establishing their claim. It is much preferable that we should leave matters as they are. We have provided that if death occurs before the weekly payments stop the sum of the weekly payment can be deducted from the adult's lump sum only and not from the sum going to the children, subject to the condition that that is not to bring the adult's lump sum below £200. That is, I think, a fair provision. When matters have gone on for six months and when it is quite clear that the employer has got to pay a lump sum or contemplate a continuation of the weekly payments, there should be a wiping of the slate. The employer says to the workman: "I shall discharge my liability to you by the payment of so much money" and, the worker agrees. That ends the matter. The employer goes his way knowing that the legal obligation to that worker has been discharged. The worker enters into an agreement and the court makes the order having regard to all the circumstances of the case. If there is no such agreement and the worker dies, then the sum of these weekly payments are deductible from the adults' lump sum, subject to the limitation I have mentioned. On the whole, I think the present position is quite fair and that there is no necessity for any additional provision such as Senator Johnson suggests.

do not think that there is any use in my pressing this matter if the Minister is opposed to it. However, I think that the provision he has referred to in the one case should apply equally to the other case—that there should be a minimum of £200 available. In the case where weekly payments are made and death ensues, it may be quite unexpected and may not have been counted upon by either party. Consequently, there should be some minimum available for the family in the case of that unexpected and uncalculated contingency. As the Bill stands, I can imagine very grave hardship arising by families being left without any resources at all, because of the unexpected loss of life following a redemption agreement. If the Minister is desirous of securing a continuance of these agreements, it would be better to agree to the amendment. Personally, I want to see as few of these agreements as possible.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Second Schedule agreed to.

On behalf of Senator Foran, I move amendment 42:—

Rule 2, to delete in line 8 the word "thirty" and to substitute therefor the words "thirty-five."

This amendment raises the most important issue with regard to this Bill so far as we are concerned. The Bill proposes to reduce the maximum weekly allowance that can be paid to a workman from 35/- to 30/- per week. I admit that, at the other end of the scale, the Minister has made an improvement. The Minister has made an improvement in the case of the allowance to be paid to the workman with small wages. A much needed improvement has been made with regard to the total amount payable in the event of death. But the maximum weekly payment is being reduced from 35/-, under the existing law, to 30/- per week under this Bill. This provision affects what would be described as the better-off workman or tradesman class. It must be borne in mind that the tradesman and the better-paid class of workman have heavy domestic responsibilities. To pay 30/- per week to a family who had been in receipt of £5 or over a week, at a time when extras are required because of the illness of the breadwinner is a reactionary step, having regard to the fact that the maximum at present is 35/- per week. If my memory serves me, there was an almost unanimous recommendation by the Committee with regard to the maximum allowance of 35/- per week. The Minister has endeavoured, so far as possible, to follow the recommendations of the Committee set up to consider the Workmen's Compensation Act but he has not followed the recommendation in this respect. It is not asking too much to request the Minister to allow the maximum weekly payment which at present obtains to continue in operation. I do not think that a case can be made for reducing it. The commitments of the better-class workman and tradesman class in respect of rent and everything else are pretty heavy and, I think, it is more than enough for the family to lose the weekly earnings of the workman without having the maximum amount reduced from 35/- to 30/-. I hope that the Minister will accept what I consider a reasonable amendment.

This is one of the provisions of the Bill which has given rise to most discussion. It was discussed fairly fully in the Dáil, and it was also discussed here on Second Reading. I think the case regarding the change proposed has been very fairly and very fully put, and anything I may say at this stage must be very largely in the nature of repetition. I pointed out that the main Workmen's Compensation Act was the Act of 1906. That provided that the workman who was incapacitated through industrial accident was to be entitled to 50 per cent. of his pre-accident earnings, subject to a maximum payment of £1. That Act operated in Great Britain and here, and it continued to operate unchanged until the enormous fluctuations in values that took place during the world war. In the year 1917, in consequence of the depreciation in the value of the £, the British Government passed an Act increasing the compensation payable under the Workmen's Compensation Act, in cases of partial incapacity only, by 75 per cent. There was no increase in the amount payable in fatal cases. That Act—the War Addition Act, as it was called—which was passed in Great Britain in 1917 provided that workers injured in industrial accidents were to be entitled to get 50 per cent. of their pre-accident earnings subject to a maximum of £1 increased by 75 per cent., which created a maximum payment of 35/- a week. That Act was in operation when the Free State was established. It was adapted and is still in operation here. In Great Britain, however, the code was re-examined in the year 1923. In that year a British Act was passed which repealed the War Addition Act and fixed the maximum amount of compensation permanently at the figure of 30/-. The method of calculating the amount was, however, not changed, so that in Great Britain, since 1923, the position has been that the injured workman gets 50 per cent. of pre-accident earnings, subject to a maximum payment of 30/- per week. The War Addition Act was operating here when the Free State was established and it has continued to operate here. It was, of course, only an annual Act but it has been continued each year by the Expiring Laws Act.

It is, I think, generally agreed that the introduction of permanent legislation revising and amending the workmen's compensation code has been long overdue. It is not my fault or the fault of members of the present Government that an Act to effect here the changes in the law which existed on the date of the establishment of the Free State, similar to those effected in Great Britain in 1923, has not been introduced. We are now changing that law; we are now effecting the changes in the method of paying compensation here which were effected in Great Britain ten years ago. We are removing injustices; we are taking the amount payable by way of compensation in fatal cases, which was not changed since 1906—which was fixed at the maximum of £300 and is still £300 —and we are making it £600. We are reducing the amount payable in non-fatal cases to the figure to which it was reduced in Great Britain in 1923, but we are altering the method of calculating the amount in favour of the workman.

Whereas in Great Britain the amount is still calculated on the basis of 50 per cent. of the pre-accident earnings, we are proposing 75 per cent. and in some cases 80 per cent. The result is that persons earning up to £2 15s. a week who are injured in accident will get in future a greater sum here than they would get in Great Britain. In the case of wages over £2 15s. a week the maximum will operate here as it operates in Great Britain, and 30/- is payable in each case. Up to £2 15s. a week Saorstát workers will be entitled to greater weekly payments than are being given in Great Britain despite the fact that it might be held that, having regard to the degree of industrialisation in Great Britain and the resources of that country, larger payments should be possible there. A person earning £2 15s. a week will get the maximum payment here while in Great Britain he gets 27/6. A person earning £2 10s. a week here will get the maximum while in Great Britain the amount is only 25/-. A person with 40/- a week here will still get the maximum payment, whereas in Great Britain he would get only 22/6. It is only when we get to the point of £1 15s. a week that our scale begins to go down. A person with a salary of £1 15s. who gets injured will be paid 26/3 as against 21/3 in Great Britain and so on down the scale.

It is clear, therefore, whatever comparison may be made between this Bill and the existing law which was passed for one year in 1917 and continued by the Expiring Laws Act in each year and which could have been allowed to go out of operation by the mere failure to include the title of that Act in the Expiring Laws Bill, that comparison redounds to the favour of this country. Any comparison that may be made between the law of this country and the laws of other countries in relation to payments in the case of the workmen's compensation code is undoubtedly favourable from the point of view of the proposals in this measure. I have shown that in the case of Great Britain we are proposing payments on a more generous scale.

I have examined as best I could workmen's compensation provisions of other European countries registered with the League of Nations, and in so far as it was possible to make a comparison, having regard to rates of exchange and methods of calculation, the proposals of this Bill are at least as generous as and, perhaps, more generous than those embodied in the laws of any other country. In only one case is there a higher percentage than 75 per cent. paid and that is in the case of Czecho-Slovakia, where 100 per cent. compensation was paid subject, however, to a very definite limitation of the total amount. In all other cases the percentage payment was less than is proposed in this Bill. In the majority of cases it was 66? per cent., and in some cases it was 50 per cent. In the case of three European countries no maximum payments were fixed. In Spain there was no maximum. A comparison there was difficult because compensation in fatal cases and cases of incapacity was paid on the basis of a lump sum. A worker who was injured received two years' salary and once he got that he was finished. It is quite obvious our law is much more generous than that. In the case of Russia there is no maximum. The percentage is 66? although in some cases it is higher. In the case of Poland the information applied to the period when the codes which had been in operation in different parts under the previous regime were still in operation. In one part of Poland under one of the laws carried over from a previous regime there was no maximum payment but there was a percentage figure of 66? in general operation.

It is very difficult to make effective comparisons between the laws of this country and other countries because one must take into account not merely the money given out but also the general conditions such as the cost of living and the level of wages. These factors must come into the picture if it is to be clear and accurate. Quotations were made in the Dáil concerning the amounts paid in certain Australian States which appear to us to be high, but which are comparatively small payments having regard to the standard rates of wages operating and the cost of living. It is of no benefit to a worker to get £3 instead of 30/- if the £3 buys less. Considerations of that kind make comparisons unsuitable. Such investigations as I have been able to make justify me in saying that the proposals in this Bill are as generous, if not more so, than those contained in the legislation of the great majority of European countries and for that matter of other countries in the world. We can stand over them, particularly having regard to the fact that the general effect of the Bill is to increase the amount payable in fatal cases. We only decrease the maximum in respect of a figure which was fixed when the cost of living was very nearly double what it is at the present time. I feel that we can with easy minds stand over the provisions of the Bill.

I was a member of the Inter-Departmental Committee on whose report this Bill is based. The Committee originally recommended 35/- a week unanimously, but at a further, session three employers signed a report for 30/- a week, upon which figure the Minister is now acting. The insurance people, the Labour representatives, the medical advisers and so on took no hand, act or part in that further session which reduced the amount to 30/-. There is no provision in this Bill for cases where a person is dependent upon the help of another person, such as in cases of blindness, paralysis or a general breakdown. The Minister compares the amounts provided in this Bill with payments in England. There is provision made in the English law for such cases as I have mentioned. The employers there are also charged with the provision of safety devices, costly ones, to prevent accidents. There is no such provision made in this Bill. The Minister would have us believe that 30/- is not exceeded in any other country. In Australia, New Zealand and the United States the figures are very much higher than 30/- or 35/- a week. The comparison with the cost of living does not apply to such an extent. In New Zealand provision is made up to £4 a week in non-fatal cases and in fatal cases up to £1,000 can be paid to the dependants. In Australia there are payments up to £3 10s. and in the United States up to £5 10s. The employing class are no more generous there than they are in this country or in Great Britain, yet they feel it incumbent on them to make that provision for injured workmen.

We believe this Bill does not improve the position of the injured worker; it worsens it to a considerable extent. Many of the people engaged in the heavy industries where most accidents occur — building, engineering, ship-building, etc.—have more than £3 a week, so that 75 per cent. of their wages would not be represented by 30/- a week compensation. We believe 35/- is a reasonable sum. Nobody seeks injury. When a person is injured that person requires more care. With the methods adopted by insurance companies and their representatives it is very difficult for a man to get even the money to which he is entitled; every obstacle is put in his way when he seeks to obtain accident benefit. I think the reduction of the amount originally recommended, as a result of the action of the employers on the Committee, is a backward step so far as the workers of this country are concerned.

The Minister referred to the 1906 Act, and to the maximum amount of compensation fixed by it. On the Second Reading I pointed out that that was a figure going back to 1887, or some period long anterior to 1906. I repeat now that the figure 30/-, in view of present prices, is lower as a maximum in its purchasing power than the figure of £1 in 1906 or in 1887. If you take to-day's index figure you will have to give at least 34/- to equal the £1 of 1906, so that the proposition in the Bill is to make the maximum amount of compensation lower than it was in 1906, and earlier. That is the defence the Minister is pleading in regard to the higher paid workman. I do not want to refer at all to what is happening in other countries. I am prepared to base my case on what it costs a man to live in this country. Bear in mind that the law has agreed that an accident arising out of employment becomes a charge upon the employment, upon the whole body of industry, and the practice of the insurance companies is to make that more and more definitely established. A workman hands himself over to his employer, to be used for the profit of the employer, and if, in the course of that operation, he meets with an accident then some compensation falls upon the fund which is available for the employer. That has been established since 1906. They fixed a maximum of 20/-, no matter what the wage of the workman might be. We are going to reduce the value of that maximum to-day. I say that is a distinctly retrograde step in the case of higher paid employment.

The Minister referred to the fact that in the Bill 75 per cent. of the earnings are allowed, and he drew a comparison with the British Bill. But the proportion of our workmen receiving 30/- and less per week is very much higher indeed than the proportion of workmen in Britain who receive 30/- and less. The maximum sum that a man earning 30/- a week will get under this Bill will be 22/6. I want the Minister to contemplate the position of a man, as the head of a family, who earned 30/- a week. As an injured person he will in very many cases require more to sustain him than when in health, and there is left for the rest of his family the balance of the 22/6. There is nothing generous about that. When you take the family of a man who had an artisan's wage of 40/- a week or over, you reduce him to a maximum of 30/-. You are practically telling that family that they have to get down to a very low subsistence level. Some time ago I invited the Minister for Industry and Commerce to initiate an inquiry into the actual family needs, the actual physiological requirements of a family. If he would do so I think he would find that a 30/- a week maximum is condemning the families of artisans to a position in which they cannot be maintained in health. I know quite well that there are large numbers of people living on a lower scale. But this is a case for compensation for injury arising out of employment, where a man handed himself over to an employer to earn money, where he became a tool in that man's hands, and as such I maintain that the original recommendation of the Commission should stand. As Senator Foran stated, owing to certain notions that entered the mind of the Minister of the time, the committee was recalled to reconsider its report, and ship-owners' representatives, Messrs. Barry, Moreton and Perry, put in a minority report, withdrawing their support from the 35/- suggested, on the grounds that it was too high and that they thought 30/- should be enough. I do not know what induced the then Minister to ask these people to take a second glance at their report. In any case they took a second glance, but the majority stood by the original report, including Messrs. J.C. M. Eason, J.H. Aylward, Joseph Brennan, Sir Wm. De C. Wheeler, and the Labour representatives. The chairman, Mr. Dickie, K.C., who was not attached to either party, submitted a note in which he stated that notwithstanding the arguments which were put forward by the employers' representatives in this case, he saw no reason whatever for altering the original recommendation. This House should stand by the original recommendation of the majority Report and at least give the people of 1934, 1935, and henceforward, a chance of living at the level at which the people of 1906 recommended that they should be allowed to live.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided:—Tá, 7; Níl: 18.

  • Cummins, William.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • O'Farrell, John T.


  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Comyn, Michael, K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Guinness, Henry S.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Keyes, Raphael P.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacKean, James.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
  • Wilson, Richard.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Farren and Foran; Níl: Senators S. and D.L. Robinson.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment 43:—

Third Schedule. Rule 3. After the word "earnings" in line 17, page 38, to add the words "or the sum of sixteen shillings, whichever of the said sums is the greater."

The effect of the amendment is to remove anomalies which might otherwise occur. A workman whose pre-accident earnings were £1 is entitled to 16/-. That is 80 per cent. of a pound. A workman whose pre-accident earnings were 21/- is entitled to 75 per cent. or 15/9.

Amendment agreed to.
Third and Fourth Schedules agreed to.
9. Any sum which under this Schedule is ordered to be invested may be invested in whole or in part in the Post Office Savings Bank by the county registrar in his name as county registrar.
11. No part of any money invested in the name of a county registrar in the Post Office Savings Bank under this Act shall be paid out, except upon authority addressed to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs by a judge of the Circuit Court or such county registrar.

I move amendments 44 and 45:—

Fifth Schedule. Paragraph 9. After the word "bank" in line 43, page 40, to insert the words "or in Savings Certificates."

Fifth Schedule. Paragraph 11. After the word "bank" in line 51, page 40, to insert the words "or in Savings Certificates."

These are to enable the county registrars to invest money in Savings Certificates as well as in the Post Office Savings Bank.

Amendments agreed to.
Fifth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment 46: Sixth Schedule. To add at the end of the tabular statement the following:—

“Poisoning by benzene and its homologues or the sequelae.

Handling benzene or any of its homo logues, or any process in the manufacture or involving the use thereof.

Poisoning by nitrous fumes or its sequelae.

Any process in which nitrous fumes are evolved.


Produced by dust or liquids.

Epitheliomatous cancer or ulceration of the skin due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil or paraffin, or any compound, product or residue of any of these substances.

Handling or use of tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil or paraffin, or any compound, product or residue of any of these sub stances.

Cataract in glassworks.

Any process in the manufacture of glass involving exposure to the glare of molten glass.”

The Sixth Schedule deals with a certain number of industrial diseases. It means that if certain people working in certain occupations are stricken by those diseases they shall be treated as accidents. Under the law at present, as taken over in 1922, there was a considerable number of scheduled diseases, about 25 or 27 I think. These are in fact industrial diseases scheduled under the law at the present time. As I understand it, the effect of the Bill is to reduce the number of industrial diseases which can come within the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation laws. The Minister will probably know, if he inquires in his Department, that there is an attempt being made to increase the number of industrial activities in the country, while the passing of this Bill limiting the number of industrial diseases that are covered by the Workmen's Compensation code would be distinctly retrogressive. The amendment seeks to take a large number of the diseases which are at present covered and which might be appropriate to the kind of industry that is being established and retain them in the Schedule after this Bill is passed. We are not extending the number. We are simply reducing the number of diseases that are being deleted. The Minister is keeping in six or seven, and I am seeking to keep in four or five more.

A considerable number of the diseases that are at present scheduled are probably not very appropriate to this country. They are not very common. I am not able to explain any of them, but the four or five mentioned in my amendment are, shall I say, likely to be contracted by people working in these industries in this country. We think it is very undesirable that there should be a complete cutting down of the number of industrial diseases covered by the Workmen's Compensation Acts.

We have left in the Sixth Schedule the diseases which were scheduled in the original Act. We have not included in the Schedule any diseases that were added by order from time to time. There is, however, power under sub-section (3) of Section 74 to add any disease scheduled from time to time at the discretion of the Minister by order. An examination is being carried out to ascertain to what extent any other diseases that were from time to time scheduled are prevalent in the Saorstát or are likely to become prevalent in it. A great number of them arise out of industrial processes that are not practised here or likely to be practised here. Before we schedule a disease we should have some statistics as to the extent to which it is likely to operate here or does operate here. We are having an examination carried out, and if as a result of that it appears there is a case for scheduling additional diseases an order to that effect will be made from time to time the same as under the 1906 Act.

In the meantime I feel that there should not be a gap between the passing of the Act and the operation of these new orders which would have the effect of limiting the industrial diseases that are at present scheduled. That gap might last for a year. I would say that in the meantime the present list of scheduled diseases made by order ought to operate.

We have power to add diseases but we have no power to take them off again. If the Senator feels strongly about the matter I am prepared to accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Sixth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.


If the House is agreeable I think it would be more advisable that the Report Stage of this Bill should not be taken until Wednesday week so that some little time would be given for the consideration of amendments.

The Dáil is meeting on Wednesday week and it is likely that I may have urgent business that will occupy me there.


We have had a rather protracted debate on the Committee Stage of this Bill. A great many important amendments have been made to it, so that I think it desirable that a little time should be given for the consideration of amendments for the next Stage.

Would it not be possible to meet on next Wednesday? Are the amendments for the Report Stage so complicated that they could not be prepared in time for Wednesday next?


I think they are.

The only complicated amendment that I know of is the one that is to be moved by Senator Sir Edward Bigger. It will need some consideration.

I would like to assure Senator Comyn that I am doing my best to produce a complicated one.

There is one factor that ought to be taken into account and that is that Senators will want to know what has occurred on the Committee Stage. They will not know that until they see the Official Report. That will not be available until Wednesday.

I have no desire to rush the measure at all.

Ordered: That the Report Stage be taken on Wednesday week, 31st January.