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also in five groups, but these groups slightly differ from the age grouping of the common laborers: Under 20 years, 20 and under 40 years, 40 and under 50 years, 50 and under 60 years, and 60 years and over.
For all other occupations a slightly different age classification was adopted: Under 15 years, 15 and under 21 years, 21 and under 30 years, 30 and under 60 years, and 60 years and over.
For all age groups except the highest, the demand of the law is complied with in obtaining the annual earnings by multiplying the daily wage by the average number of working days. For the age group of 60 years and over, the annual earnings are obtained by subtracting 25 per cent from the product of the multiplication of the daily wage by the average number of working days.
Contract workers who, though working themselves, employ other wage workers are assumed to receive the wage of the highest wage group to which any one of their employees belongs.
Five years after going into effect the tables must be revised, and the procedure of the next revision is prescribed in great detail in the regulations of June 14, 1908. Revision of the tables may be ordered after two years, if a demand for such revision is made either by the Sicilian Mutual Accident Insurance Association or by 100 workmen in any one province, and if the demand is approved by the head engineer, the district mining office of Caltanisetta approves it after investigation. The assigning of the employees to the different wage groups indicated in the tables must proceed in compliance with the regulations. At the time of employment, the employer must inform the employee to which group of average wages he is assigned. This must be done in the presence of witnesses and with the consent of the employee, who may raise objections against the assignment, and if the employer does not agree with the employee, the statements of both parties must be recorded. The certificate of assignment must be made in writing and signed by both parties, and it must contain the objections of the employee, if any. Appeals from this assignment may be made within ten days to the mutual insurance association, which association transfers the complaint to the district mining office at Caltanisetta for final decision.
The same procedure must take place in case of change of the employee from one occupation to another, but if the change from one wage group to another is due to age no special notice need be given. The operator of the mine or his agent, upon complaint made by the employee to the insurance association and forwarded to the district mining office, may be prosecuted for failure to give the employee the required notice of assignment.
If an accident occurs to a workman before his assignment to a wage group has been made, the assignment is made by the insurance association, and disagreement as to such assignment is to be settled in the same way as all other disagreements as to indemnity to be paid.
Notice of assignments made must be given to the insurance association. The same requirements are applicable to contractors and to subcontractors employing helpers. If at the time of an accident the notice to the association is overdue, or if the notice furnished omitted to give essential information in relation to the workmen's wages or contained false statements relative thereto, the association may recover the amount of compensation from the employer. If the salary stated to the association is lower than that stated to the employee, only the difference of the compensation based upon the two wage figures is recoverable.
FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION.-The-revenues of the association consist mainly of the tax upon sulphur as established by the law of July 11, 1904; in addition to this there are the initiation fees of the members, amounting to 4 per cent of their annual wage expense; special assessments for nonproductive work, revenues from the investment of the reserve funds, and miscellaneous income. The normal rate of taxes is established by the law; the special assessment for nonproductive work is determined at 0.5 per cent of the wage expense, and may vary in accordance with the variations of the tax.
In the financial organization of the association three funds are provided for: An operating fund, the ordinary reserve or guarantee fund, and the extraordinary reserve fund. The ordinary reserve fund is formed from the initiation fees and 5 per cent deducted from the other income, which deduction is continued until the reserve is equal to the average annual amount of the indemnities and expenses of administration for the preceding five years. This reserve is invested in state or guaranteed securities and deposited with the Bank of Loans and Deposits, subject to the same regulations as the guarantee funds of the voluntary associations. Extraordinary revenues and surplus from operation are paid into the extraordinary reserve, which is not limited. This reserve is deposited in the same way and serves to meet the payment of extraordinarily heavy indemnities.
If the revenues and 50 per cent of the extraordinary reserve do not suffice to meet the obligations, the council must call a special meeting to authorize a petition to the ministry for necessary measures to cover the deficit. On the other hand, if the revenues should prove too large and after five years of experience (after deducting the 5 per cent payable into the ordinary reserve) are 25 per cent higher than the budget, then the association may petition the ministry for a reduction of the tax. If the reduction amounts to more than 5 per cent, the association may levy a surtax upon the new members (who have not contributed to the accumulated reserves), which surtax must not exceed the difference between the old and the new tax.
In case of the dissolution of the association, the constitution provides for a redistribution of the accumulated reserves among the members proportionately to the wages paid as announced to the association during the whole period of its existence.
The operating fund is kept either in the Postal Savings Bank or in any other savings bank or in the Bank of Sicily, and is subject to the order of the president, who must himself, or through the vicepresident or a director, indorse all payments. The temporary benefit payments to the injured workmen are made by members of the association, who are subsequently reimbursed.
ADMINISTRATION.-—The organization and mode of operation of the insurance association is regulated by its constitution. (a) Briefly, this organization is as follows: The association is governed by the general assembly of members, meeting twice a year regularly and in extraordinary meeting whenever necessary, and its officers, as follows: An administrative council, an executive office, an accident prevention committee, so called, auditors, and a board of arbitration.
The membership of the association consists of the mine operators who are employers of labor. Under certain regulations the owners of mines who do not operate their mines may hold membership in the association. In the general meetings of the association the members have a voting power corresponding to the number of employees, 1 vote up to 25 employees, 1 additional vote for each additional 25 employees, but not over 100 votes to 1 person, though the number of employees is computed by assuming 1 employee for every 500 lire ($96.50) of annual wages paid. Members may be represented by proxies, but no member of the administrative council is allowed to act as the agent of any other member of the association.
The administrative council consists of ten members, elected for two years, one-half of the number being elected annually. The council has the general powers given to a board of directors, subject to the control of the general assembly. The actual executive work is done by the director, who is at the head of the executive office. He is elected by the assembly for a probationary period of two years, after which he has security of tenure and can be removed for cause only by a general meeting at which are registered three-fourths of all voting power. He supervises all the work except that referring to prevention of accidents. The director is subject to the administrative council, to which he refers each case of rejected application for compensation. Litigation must be sanctioned by the council.
The accident prevention committee consists of three members elected by the general assembly. The function of this committee is to inspect the mines and to issue specific orders and general rules for
a Bollettino di Notizie sul Credito e sulla Previdenza, 1904, p. 1643.
the purpose of promoting the safety of the work. These orders must be approved by the council, and may be appealed from to the district mining office. For the purpose of inspection the committee may impress members of the association for a short time, and must pay them the cost of subsistence and traveling expenses.
The three auditors perform the usual functions of an auditing committee, and a board of five arbiters elected annually by the general meeting hears all controversies between the association and its members referred to it for informal consideration.
Under penalty of a fine a member is required to accept any office to which he is elected, unless he is excused for cause by the administrative council, and for his services is entitled to traveling expenses and to a per diem allowance.
GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF ADMINISTRATION.—A few changes were introduced in the methods of administration of the association by the law of 1907, for the purpose of strengthening the government control over its affairs. The governor is authorized to appoint a government representative on the administrative council of the association; and a special provision authorizes the ministry to transfer the entire administration into the hands of a government commissioner, if the council ceases to exercise its function or exercises it irregularly. In such cases the commissioner remains in charge until the general assembly elects a new council. It was explained that some such provision was needed on the statute books to insure continuity of service of the association against any malice on the part of the board of directors. This commissioner has all the powers of the president and of the administrative council, and may be given the powers of the general assembly. He is to resign as soon as a council has been selected. The remuneration of the commissioner is to be determined by the minister, but must not exceed 25 lire ($4.83) per day.
STATISTICS.—The Sicilian compulsory mutual insurance association has been in operation such a short time that little statistical information concerning it is available; but in the following two tables a few data concerning accidents in the sulphur mines and the compensation paid for such accidents are given for 1899 to 1905, inclusive, i. e., a continuous period of seven years of the application of the accident compensation law, for from January 1, 1899, to October 1, 1904, the sulphur mine operators were insured almost altogether with the National Accident Insurance Institution. Only the last line in these tables, giving data for the 15-month period, October 1, 1904, to December 31, 1905, refers to the compulsory mutual insurance association, and this permits some comparisons. The tables show a continuous and rapid increase in the accident rate which even the formation of the compulsory mutual association did not stop, although it slowed down the pace. The rate in 1903 was 126 per thousand; in
1904 it was 143.2 per thousand for nine months, or 190.9 per thousand
EMPLOYEES, 1899 TO 1905.
Death or per
1899 1900 1901. 1902 1903. 1904. 1905.
: : : :
38,208 $3,424, 635
37, 341 3, 495, 840
152 2,393 2,545
4,875 5, 138 307 4.397 4,704 a 248 0 4,820 a 5,068 c397 c9,056 9, 453
4.0 62.6 8.1 74.3 6.5 100.9 7.0 129.0 8. 2 117.8 a 7.0 a 136.2 c 10.0 c 244.0
66.6 82.4 107.4 136.0 126.0 a 143.2 c254.0
a Nine months of the operation of the national insurance institution.
TOTAL AND AVERAGE COMPENSATION PAID FOR ACCIDENTS TO WORKMEN IN
SICILIAN SULPHUR MINES.
(Source: Bollettino di Notizie sul Credito e sulla Previdenza, 1908, Vol. XXVI.)
Per case resulting in
Per case, all cases.
Permanent | Temporary
1899 1900. 1901 1902 1903. 1904 1905.
85, 960.19 108,283. 45 101, 592.01
128. 272. 15 0122. 806.09 6103.259.76
$22.21 27.44 25.91 19.77 27.27 a 24.23 0 17.27
a Nine months of the operations of the national insurance institution.