SCALE AND CONDITIONS OF COMPENSATION. SCALE.
Provided that if the workman objects to such examination he may appeal to the arbitrator, whose decision shall be final.
§ Lords' Amendment, page 8: In Subsection (1), paragraph (a) leave out "dependants" and insert "any dependants wholly dependent upon his earnings at the time of his death," and after "earnings" insert "in the employment of the same employer."
§ *SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY,
in moving that the Lords' Amendment be agreed to, explained that, while it did not take away the minimum sum of £150, it provided, in conjunction with the subsequent Amendment, that in certain cases there should be a discretion given to the arbitrator to take into consideration all the circumstances of persons not wholly dependent upon the 1672 deceased person. He thought the general feeling of the House was that while it was desired to make good to dependants so far as was possible, the loss which they had sustained by the death of those who had to support them, yet, at the same time, it was not desired that they should be absolute money-gainers by the death of such persons. While adhering to the principle of a £150 limit in ordinary cases, a discretion would be given which would obviate what might prove a hardship in other cases.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
agreed that there was a hint given to the House that some such change as this might be made, and undoubtedly there were cases in which some hardships might have occurred under the Sub-section as it left that House. He confessed that he did not understand why Lord Herschell should have supported Lord Durham in this matter. No doubt there was some ground for putting in some words, but he thought that they had gone too far.
thought that the right hon. Gentleman was labouring under a misapprehension. This was the only Amendment which diminished the benefits conferred by the Bill on workmen.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
admitted that it was a concession on a concession. Under ordinary circumstances the Bill would come into operation on New Year's Day. The time was postponed in this House till the 3Ist of March, and then in the other House till the 1st of July. The whole delay would be six months. Was that unreasonable 2 It was admitted that for the first time a great principle was being admitted into our legislation. The Amendment might be advantageous to both employers and employed by enabling them to make arrangements for meeting the operations of the Bill. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ *MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)
said this was a very serious concession so far as the employés were concerned. This 1673 Amendment changed the Bill entirely from the state in which is was when it was introduced, and changed it entirely against the interest of the employé. The inquiry would be of an inquisitorial character into family affairs. The great desire with which the Government professed to set out was the prevention of -litigation and to give a certainty of the benefit being received which the Bill was -intended to confer; but the effect of this Amendment would not be to give certainty and would open the way to litigation. It was one of the most serious of the Amendments sent down from the -Lords.
Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lards in the said Amendment."
The House divided:—Ayes, 147; Noes, 67.—(Division List, No. 351.)
Lords' Amendments: In paragraphs (i) after "sum" insert—and if the period of the workman's employment by the said employer has been less than the said three years, then the amount of his earnings during the said three years shall be deemed to be one hundred and fifty-six times his average weekly earnings during the period of his actual employment under the said employer.Amendment agreed to.
At end of same paragraph leave out "and" and insert:—(ii.) If the workman does not leave any such dependants, but leaves any dependants in part dependent upon his earnings at the time of his death, such sum, not exceeding in any case the amount payable under the foregoing provisions, as may be agreed upon, or, in default of agreement, may be determined on arbitration under this Act, to be reasonable and proportionate the injury to the said dependants; andAmendment agreed to.
In paragraph (b) leave out "engaged in the same employment" and insert in the employment of the same employer."
Amendment agreed to.
1674 In Sub-section (2) after "accident" insert "and to any payment not being wages which he may receive from the employer in respect of his injury during the period of his incapacity."
moved to agree with the Lords' Amendment. This matter was, he said, discussed on the Report stage of the Bill in regard not merely to the money payments, but also to the benefits which the workman was alleged to receive during his incapacity. They thought that the consideration of benefits was an indeterminate thing, which they could not put in the Bill as justifying any reduction, but, on the other hand, it was necessary that, if the workman was receiving, as a voluntary contribution front his employer, any portion of the compensation allotted, this should be taken into account.
§ *MR. STUART-WORTLEY
could not allow such a remark as that to pass unchallenged. Without some such Amendment as this it would be to the obvious interest of the employer to leave the workman to find for himself as best he could such comforts and payments as might be necessary in his wounded condition until such time as he could get his claim for compensation settled. The Amendment was, therefore, in the interest of the employé.
§ *MR.J. WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said this Amendment was brought forward in that House by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chester-le-Street, but was refused by the Government. The Earl of Durham brought it forward in another place, and it was there accepted by the Government. He regarded it as another concession to the employers, in order to make it less detestable to them.
Lords' Amendment agreed to.
Lords' Amendments agreed to; insert as a fresh sub-section:(3.) Where a workman has given notice of an accident, he shall, if so required by the employer, submit himself for examination by a 1675 duly qualified medical practitioner provided and paid. by the employer, and if he refuses to submit himself to such examination, or in any way obstructs the same, his right to compensation, and. any proceeding under this Act in relation to compensation, shall be suspended until such examination takes place.In sub-section (8) leave nut "to any registrar."
In sub-section (9) leave out "under" and insert "from" and leave out "paid into" and insert "invested in."
In sub-section (10) leave out "claiming compensation" and insert "receiving weekly payments."
After "employer" ["employer from time to time"] insert "or by any person by whom he is entitled to be indemnified."
Lords' Amendment: After "employer" [paid by the employer "] insert "or such other person; but if the workman objects to an examination by that medical practitioner (the practitioner provided and paid by the employer), or is dissatisfied by the certificate of such practitioner upon his condition when communicated to him, he may submit himself for examination to one of the medical practitioners appointed for the purposes of this Act, as mentioned in the second schedule to this Act, and the certificate of that medical practitioner as to the condition of the workman at the time of the examination shall be given to the employer and workman, and shall be conclusive evidence of that condition."
§ MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)
suggested that this Amendment should not be accepted after the word "person" in the first line," because what was proposed was that, if the workman objected to an examination by the medical practitioner of the employer he might submit himself to examination by one of the medical practitioners appointed for the purpose of the Act, and the certificate of that medical practitioner as to the workman's condition should be conclusive. In this matter there ought to be a sort of 1676 Court of Appeal. If the Lords' Amendment were accepted there would be no such Court, but the workman would be able to go to the official doctor directly, and he would be the sole arbiter, and there would be no one to assist in the arbitration. That would be very unfair to the employer. He would like to know how many official medical practitioners were to be appointed; how many would be appointed in each district, and what would be their salaries and practices? If they were to be in the position of medical arbitrators they must be neutral men. Further, he would like to know how, if this Amendment were accepted, the expenses, in the case of a workman going before a medical arbitrator, would be paid? Would they be paid by Parliament or not? Not only did he consider that this Amendment would not be to the interest of the employers, but he believed it would not be to the interest of the employed, because where notice had teen given by a workman of an accident, he was examined by the employer's doctor. Why should not the employer's doctor examine a man when he was receiving weekly payments in consequence of injury? He moved the omission of all the words after "pension" in line 1 of the Amendment.
thought they were entitled to know from some representative of the Government whether they proposed to reject the Lords' Amendment. He assumed they might take the silence of the Government to mean that they accepted the proposal of the hon. Member for Salford.
said that the question was one as to the best way of carrying out the arrangements under the Bill. It was not a point on which the Government held very strong opinions themselves. Under the Bill, as it went to the House of Lords, the workman was required to submit himself for examination to a qualified medical practitioner, paid by the employer. If he refused, he 1677 would have to appeal to an arbitrator, whose decision would be final. If the arbitrator decided that the workman should undergo the examination, and if the result of the examination were unsatisfactory to the workman, he could go to the arbitrator again, who would call in a medical practitioner appointed by by the State, and on his report the final decision would be based. It appeared to the Prime Minister that that was rather a complicated arrangement, and that it would be to the advantage both of the employer and of the workman if the matter were simplified, and the workman was able to go directly to the medical man appointed by the State. The whole object of the Lords' Amendment was simplification of machinery. But the hon. Member for Salford had raised an objection which was entitled to some weight—namely, that under the Lord's amendment every case would go to the medical officer appointed by the State, whose final decision in such circumstances might not be regarded as impartial. He would be thought to be either an employer's man or a workman's man. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman suggested that it would be better to retain the provision under which the medical officer appointed by the State was only called in when the employer's medical man and the workman's medical man disagreed. It was not a matter of great importance, and the Government would be glad to hear the views of any hon. Member who specially represented labour.
§ *MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)
said that, leaving out of account the fact that this was a Government Amendment, he felt that some regard should be paid to the prejudices of the workmen. This was an Amendment suggested by the Prime Minister as a means of smoothing and simplifying the working of the Act, and when the Bill came down here, the Colonial Secretary said this House need pay no regard to the opinion of the House of Lords.
§ *MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid.)
said that, though an expression might escape him in the heat of the moment, he would not be offensive. He earnestly hoped the Amendment would be rejected, and that the House would agree with the Lords.
§ MR. RENSHAW
supported the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford. It would be a great pity that this protection to the employer should be taken away. In part of the Bill already passed this same power had been given to the medical officer of the employer in regard to notice of accident, and the House ought not to stultify itself by making a different regulation when it was necessary to make an inquiry in order to satisfy the employer that the workman was really- and truly incapable of discharging his duty.
§ MR. B. PICKARD (York, W.R., Normanton)
opposed the Amendment, agreeing with the action of the Prime Minister. They knew what colliery doctors were, and the men would be satisfied with these doctors' definition of what an ailment was.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
pointed out that tins Amendment was introduced by the Prime Minister, with the desirable object of simplifying procedure. The House must agree that simplification of procedure was one of the objects they ought to aim at. That object was so worthy of their earnest efforts that the Government would support the Lords. in the Amendment they had made. [Cheers.]
§ MR. TOMLINSON
argued that the Amendment of the Lords took away the jurisdiction of these cases from the arbitrator.
§ MR. BOUSFIELD
said that if a workman went to the doctor under the 1679 Act and got examined, then the certificate was conclusive evidence; but if the employer made a similar application it was not conclusive evidence. There was a great deal of force in what had been said that the arbritrator should have not merely a conclusive certificate from the medical practitioner but should have the practitioner before him to ask him questions.
Amendment negatived; Lords' Amendment agreed to.
Lords' Amendments agreed to: In Subsection (10) to leave out "otherwise" and insert "in any way" in the sentence,If the workman refuses to submit himself to such examination, or otherwise obstructs the same, his right to such weekly payments shall be suspended until such examination has taken place.Lords' Amendment to leave out from Sub-section (10)Provided that if the workman objects to such examination he may appeal to the arbitrator whose decision shall be final,Agreed to
moved that the House do agree with the Lords in the Amendment to leave out Sub-section (12) and to insert,Where any weekly payment has been continued for not less than six months the liability there for may, on the application by or on behalf of the employer, be redeemed by the payment of a lump sum, to be settled, in default of agreement, by arbitration under this Act, and such lump sum may be ordered by the committee or arbitrator to be invested or otherwise applied as above mentioned.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
said he was personally in favour of the Lords' Amendment. It was stated in the House of Lords that this Amendment was arrived at by an arrangement between masters and men; but his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Durham repudiated the idea that he was a party to it.
said he was sorry if he had misunderstood the hon. Member for Mid Durham; but he com- 1680 municated the proposal to the hon. Member and he thought it had the hon. Member's support. He did not say that the hon. Member would not have preferred something that went more in his direction, but he believed the hon. Member had accepted this Amendment as a compromise.
§ MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)
said the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had some conversation with him on the subject on the previous night. The way in which it was put to him was that the maximum would be removed if the employer initiated the commutation; but if the workman initiated it the maximum would remain.
I assure the hon. Gentleman that was not so. I can quite understand that he may have misunderstood me; but I can assure him it was not so, for this is the only proposal I had in my mind.
§ *MR. J. WILSON (Durham, Mid)
; I understood that if the employer initiated the commutation the maximum should be removed, but if the workman took the initiative the maximum should remain, and the words I said were: "If the workman did it he would go into it with his eyes open." I am bound to admit that if the "twelve months" were kept in the arrangement would not be a bad one for the workman.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said he should like to have an explanation from the right hon. Gentleman on this point. He did not quite know why the 12 months was reduced to six.
The thing was not actually consequential. But there was really no object in keeping the 12 months when you had removed the limit of commutation; the advantage of the 12 months under the old system was that you gained for the workman half a year more compensation, but as you have removed all limit whatever there is no necessity for it.
§ MR. ASQUITH
That was what I conjectured, and, that being so, I strongly advise my hon. Friend to accept the Amendment as a whole. The great advantage of the Amendment over the initial proposal is this, that there is no fixed maximum of compensation. If that is left open to be settled by the arbitrator, I do not think it matters much at what particular time the commutation is made. ["Hear, hear!"]
said the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary had met them fairly well in this respect, and had carried out what was their view when they discussed the question on the. Report stage. They did not intend, therefore, to put the House to the trouble of a Division.
§ MR. RENSHAW
said the words of the Bill as it left the House of Commons were a compromise, and it seemed that a fresh compromise had become necessary. He did not exactly know how the necessity arose. He rather thought it was in consequence of Amendments put down in the House of Lords by the Government which employers certainly regarded with very little favour He regretted that this second compromise had become necessary. Ho regretted very much that the Government had not seen their way, in the interest of the workmen, to try to realise what great difficulties there would be in the way of insuring under this Bill in view of the indefinite liability put upon employers. He, for his own part, would be very glad indeed if the arrangement arrived at before the Bill left that House could be maintained; and he did hope it would be understood that, while agreeing to what was in the Bill, he, and others who represented the employers, had done what they could to protect the interests of the small employers, many of whom might be seriously prejudiced, if not imperilled, if they were suddenly called upon to pay down such a sum as might be fixed by the arbitrator.
Lords' Amendments agreed to.
1682 Lords' Amendments agreed to: In Sub-section (13) after "payment" insert "or a SUM paid by way of redemption thereof"; after "law" insert "nor shall any claim be set off against the same"; transpose paragraphs 14 and 15.
In Sub-section (15) leave out from "where" to "the provisions" in, and insert "a scheme certified under this Act provides for payment of compensation by a friendly society "; after "of" ["of Section 16"] insert "the proviso to the first Sub-section of Section 8"; at end Sub-section (15) insert as a new Subsection:—(16.) In the application of this Act to Ireland, the provisions of the County Officers and Courts (Ireland) Act 1877, with respect to money deposited in the Post Office Savings Bank under that Act shall apply to money invested in the Post Office Savings Bank under this Act.