§ 43 and 44. Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
asked the Secretary to the Treasury (1) if he is aware that, when an insured person having no dependants is in hospital and receives no sick pay, each week that he is in the hospital counts against the insured person as sick pay, and if the Government intends making any alteration in the Amending Bill to remove such a hardship; and (2) if he is aware that, when an injured insured person who meets with an accident and is receiving less as compensation than the amount allowed for sickness under the National Insurance Act, which is made up by the approved society, each week that the insured person receives the difference from the approved society counts as sick pay; and if the Amending Bill makes any alteration with regard to the matter?
Under Section 8 (1) (c) of the National Insurance Act, sick- 526 ness benefit is payable from the fourth day after being rendered incapable of work for a period not exceeding twenty-six weeks, and any time during which an insured person was an inmate of a hospital or receiving compensation for an accident therefore counts towards this period. With regard to the withholding of sickness benefit while the insured person is in hospital, a Clause in the Amending Bill has been passed by the Standing Committee requiring a society to expend all the money so saved either (1) in connection with the patient's treatment, or (2) in assisting his dependants, or (3) in cash payments to himself, or otherwise for his benefit. With regard to periods during which an insured person is in receipt of compensation, I would point out that the contributions payable under the Act were calculated with reference to the relief to societies' funds afforded by the withholding or reduction of sickness benefit. On the other point Clause 6 (2) of the Amending Bill, contains a provision as regards later illnesses occurring within a year [which under Section 8 (5) of the Act are treated as a continuation of the same illness], making the number of weeks which count towards the twenty-six weeks of sickness benefit proportionate to the amount of sickness benefit actually received from the society.