§ Order of the Day for receiving the Report of Amendments, read.
§ VISCOUNT SANDHURST
In rising to ask your Lordships to agree to this Report, I shall he very brief in fulfilling an undertaking given last night during the debate. That undertaking was to bring up a new clause to bring about the results which were agreed upon between myself and my noble friend Lord Knutsford, who was a critic of some of the propositions in the Bill. Those have been fully considered, and the result is that I bring up a clause now to replace Clause 22. The proposal is that a married woman ceasing work within one Year after marriage is to be considered as having been employed when she has been actually away from work for eight consecutive weeks not due to illness. She is to be insured for sickness benefit at the rate of 5[...] per week for one year following employment, subject to the condition that not more than six weeks benefit in all are to be received during the year. She is also to be insured for a maternity benefit of 30s. for one confinement within two years of the date of marriage—this meets the point of the noble Lord—and further, she is to be entitled to medical benefits and sanatorium benefits to the end of the calendar year next after that following marriage. Those are the proposals which are embodied in this clause. They come, as I hoped they would come, as an agreed clause before your Lordships. The work has been extremely difficult and 242 has taken the best energies to bring it to a head, and it would have been impossible to do it without the continuous assiduity, patience, and talent of the Parliamentary counsel and the officers of the Insurance Office, with whom it has been such a pleasure to me, to work.
§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
Leave out Clause 22 and insert as a new clause:
§ "Special pro[...]isions with respect to married women.
§ "(1) Where a woman being an insured person and a member of an approved society marries she shall, if she had before the date of her marriage ceased or if at any time within twelve months after the date of her marriage she ceases to be a person whose normal occupation is employment, cease as from that time (hereinafter referred to as "the date of unemployment") to be entitled to the benefits to which she would otherwise have been entitled under the provisions of the principal Act, and in lieu thereof she shall subject to the provisions of that. Act be entitled to the following benefits, that is to say, to sickness benefit at the rate of five shillings a week for not more than six weeks in the period of twelve months commencing next after the date of unemployment, or if the date of the unemployment was anterior to the date of her marriage within so much of that period as is subsequent to her marriage, to maternity benefit of thirty shilings in respect of her first confinement after the date of I unemployment and within two years of the date of her marriage, and to medical and sanatorium benefits until the termination of the, year next following the year in which she ceased to be such a person as aforesaid, and she shall until the expiration of two years from the date of her marriage remain an insured person.
§ (2) For the purposes of this section a woman shall be deemed to have coated to be a person whose normal occupation is employment as soon as she has been unemployed for eight consecutive weeks commencing next after the week in which she ceased to be employed.
§ "Provided that a woman who is or was unemployed by reason of incapacity for work in respect of which she has received, or but for any disentitling provisions of the principal Act would have received, sickness or disablement benefit, shall not be deemed to have ceased to be a person whose normal occupation is employment until the expiration of eight weeks commencing next after the end of the last week in which she was or would have been as aforesaid in receipt of such benefit.
§ "(3) If a woman after becoming entitled to benefits by virtue of the preceding provisions of this section becomes employed before she ceases to be an insured person she shall be treated as if she had become insured for the first time on the date on which she so heroines employed:
§ "Provided that no woman shall by reason only of so becoming employed be deprived of any 243 benefit to which she would, but for the provisions of this subsection have been entitled unless and until she becomes entitled to corresponding benefit by virtue of her new insurance.
§ "(4) No married woman shall during her coverture be entitled to be a voluntary contributor and any woman who is, at the commencement of this Act, a voluntary contributor under the terms of subsection (2) of Section 44 of the principal Act, shall cease to be such a contributor and an insured person and to be entitled to the benefits mentioned in that subsection, and in lieu thereof shall be entitled to receive by way of benefit payment of a sum of forty shillings:
§ "Provided that—
- "(a)Nothing in this provision shall prevent a married woman who has been employed for at least the prescribed number of weeks in any period being deemed to be a voluntary contributor for the purpose of any regulations made under this Act with respect to the benefits of persons in arrears: and
- "(b) Where any woman who is a voluntary contributor under the terms of the said subsection (2) is at the commencement of this Act in receipt of sickness or disablement benefit, she shall continue to be entitled to sickness or disablement benefit so long as the incapacity continues, and the said sum of forty shillings shall become payable only on the expiration of a period of eight weeks commencing next after the date when the incapacity ceases.
§ "(5) Where any woman being an insured person and a member of an approved society marries, the prescribed sum shall be transferred from the credit of the society to the credit of the Reserve Suspense Fund, and all moneys which are at the commencement of this Act standing to the credit. of the Married Women's Suspense Account mentioned in section forty-four of the principal Act shall be carried to the credit of the Reserve Suspense Fund, and the said account shall he closed.
§ "(6) Where any woman being an insured person and a member of an approved society marries and after her marriage continues to be or becomes an employed contributor, the appropriate reserve value shall be credited to the society in respect of her as if she were a person joining the Society.
§ "(7) The Insurance Commissioners may make regulations providing for such financial adjustments between approved societies and the Reserve Suspense Fund as appear necessary in order to place the societies and the Fund respectively in the position in which they would have been if the two last preceding subsections of this section had come into force on the commencement of the principal Act instead of on the commencement of this Act.
§ "(8) Where any married woman is, at the commencement of this Act, entitled to have any sum applied for her benefit under the terms of the proviso to subsection (2) of section forty-four of the principal Act and that sum or any part thereof remains unexpended on the first day of January, nineteen hundred and nineteen, that sum or the unexpended part thereof shall, instead of being applied as aforesaid, be paid to her in cash on 244 that date and she shall as on that date cease to be an insured person:
§ "Provided that if any cash payment so required to be made is not made before the first day of January, nineteen hundred and twenty, an amount equal to the sum to be paid shall be transferred from the credit of the society to the Reserve Suspense Fund.
§ "(9) In the case of any woman being a voluntary contributor who marries this section shall apply as though the date of her marriage were the date of unemployment.
§ "(10) Subject as aforesaid, the provisions of Part I of the principal Act shall apply to a woman who has been married, both during and after her coverture, as if she had never been married.
§ "(11) In the application of this section to Ireland for the words 'for not more than six weeks in the period of twelve months commencing next after the date of unemployment' there shall be substituted the words 'for not more than eight weeks in the period between the date of unemployment and the date of the completion of the second year of marriage.'
§ "(12) It shall be the duty of every woman being an insured person and a member of an approved society who marries to give notice of her marriage to her society within eight weeks thereof, and if an approved society pays to any married woman who has failed to give notice in accordance with the foregoing provision any sum by way of sickness benefit in excess of the amount properly payable to that married woman, the society shall, if it was not aware of her marriage, be entitled to deduct the amount so paid in excess from the amount of any benefits subsequently payable to her.
§ "(13)In this section the expression "employment" means employment within the meaning of Part I of the principal Act, and the expression 'employed' and 'unemployment' shall be construed accordingly."—(Viscount Sandhurst.)
My Lords, I wish to thank the noble Lord for the trouble he has taken to meet our views, and to say that we most cordially agree with the proposed new Clause. It is a very good solution that every woman who marries and ceases employment should have 5s. a week, limited to six weeks, and that she should have 30s. maternity benefit for her first child born within two years of her marriage.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.