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given. Comparisons for the later year are therefore somewhat unsatisfactory. The expenditures for the years 1873, 1878, 1885, and 1904 were as follows:
EXPENDITURES OF MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES, 1873, 1878, 1885, AND 1904. (Source: Le Società di Mutuo Soccorso, 1885 and 1904. Data are for 1,103 societies in 1873, 1,901 in 1878,
and 3,602 in 1885; for 1904 the number is not reported.]
The comparative importance of the various forms of mutual benefit is shown in the following table, but unfortunately the data for 1903 do not include any but the incorporated societies. It is therefore somewhat difficult to tell what the tendency was during the last twenty years. Up to 1885 the payment of sick benefits was by far the most important function of these societies. In 1903 the incorporated societies spent for sick benefits, inclusive of medical and pharmaceutical help, a little more than one-half of their total expenditure for relief.
EXPENDITURES OF THE MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES FOR BENEFITS, BY KIND OF
BENEFITS, 1873, 1878, 1885, AND 1903.
a Including $6,713 for temporary disability and $2,737 for maternity benefits and nursing.
Including superannuation benefits. < Included in permanent disability benefits. d Not reported.
The total assets of the societies, and also the average assets per society and per member, are shown in the following table for the various years reported. There is seen to have been an almost constant growth not only in the total assets, but in the average assets per society and per member. The average assets of the incorporated societies are more than three times that of the unincorporated societies. This is partly explained by the larger membership in the incorporated societies, but the average assets per member are also considerably largermore than twice as much.
ASSETS OF THE MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES, 1873, 1878, 1885, and 1904. [Source: Le Società di Mutuo Soccorso, 1885 and 1904. Data are for 1,095 societies in 1873, 1,949 in 1878, 3,520
iz 1895, a id 1,514 incorporated and 4,485 unincorporated societies in 1904.)
The next table shows for 1904 the distribution of both incorporated and unincorporated societies by the amount of assets. Over onehalf of the societies (54.08 per cent) are found to own less than $965, about one-third of the societies (34.09 per cent) have assets of $965 and under $9,650, and only 3.63 per cent own $9,650 and over, no data being available for the remaining 8.2 per cent. The differences between the assets of the incorporated and unincorporated societies are sufficiently well brought out in the table.
ASSETS OF THE MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES ON DECEMBER 31, 1904, BY AMOUNT
PROPOSED REFORM OF MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES.
Only a very small proportion of the workmen of Italy were able to join the existing voluntary societies in which the entire burden of the cost of insurance falls upon their own resources. In 1907 the Council of Providence and Social Insurance appointed a special commission for the study of necessary reforms in the status of the mutual benefit societies. After over a year of work the commission reported a bill for establishing a system of government subsidies to sickness insurance societies. The fact that the proposal of this special commission received the approval of the whole council makes this plan a matter of considerable importance.
The main provisions of the proposed plan, which is to serve as a substitute for the old act of 1886, are as follows: In addition to the nonregistered societies and those registered under the new law, there is to be created a third group of so-called authorized societies. The requirements for registration are practically left unchanged. But for authorization the requirements are considerably more stringent. The societies must be of a certain size, namely, not less than 200 active members (the statistics quoted on page 1839 showed that less than one-fifth of the societies had the necessary membership). They must grant a certain minimum of benefits, namely, (1) all necessary medical and surgical aid from the very first day of sickness and at least for six months; (2) a sick benefit of at least 1 lira (19.3 cents) per day for adults, and of one-half lira (9.7 cents) for children 16 years and under, from the fourth day of sickness till the end of three months, and at least one-half that amount for the succeeding three months. Special provision is made for maternity benefits, which in view of the recent act establishing compulsory maternity insurance for working women, is now of minor importance. This maternity benefit must consist of a daily benefit of one lira (19.3 cents) for at least 30 days, part of which may precede the birth of the child. The dues of these authorized societies must be computed with consideration for the special needs, but must not be less than one lira (19.3 cents) per month. In addition to individual mutual benefit societies, federations of such societies are permitted, both in the registered group and in the authorized group. The recognition as well as authorization is left to the minister of agriculture, industry and commerce, and the authorized societies are to be subjected to stricter supervision of the Government.
The object of this authorization is to provide a group of financially sound and carefully supervised mutual benefit societies, to which substantial subsidy is to be granted by the national treasury. For this purpose a special annual appropriation of two million lire ($386,000) was proposed. This fund is to be divided among all the authorized benefit societies in proportion to their membership. The system proposed is to include additional subsidies for invalidity insurance in the following way: Each member of the authorized mutual benefit society who is insured in the National Old-Age and Invalidity Insurance Institution is to count as two in this distribution, and only one share is to go to his society, and the other to his private account in the old-age insurance fund. Moreover, another substantial benefit is to be extended to these authorized mutual benefit societies. The National Old-Age and Invalidity Insurance Institution is permitted to act as a central institute for sickness insurance, and to enter into agreement with authorized benefit funds, or federations of such benefit funds to insure their members a continuation of the sick benefit of one-half lira (9.7 cents) beyond the normal limit of six months for the whole duration of sickness.
While the general condition of sickness insurance in Italy is still very unsatisfactory, since only a small proportion of the working population enjoys the benefits of such insurance and the State has done very little except provide conditions of incorporation, a very strong and very interesting movement toward compulsory insurance, in at least one branch of sickness insurance, was started in Italy within the last decade
that of maternity insurance, which very recently was successful in accomplishing this result.
By “maternity insurance” is meant insurance of medical or financial assistance to the mother for a certain period before and after childbirth.
The theoretical question may be raised whether such a form of insurance may properly be considered a branch of sickness insurance. But, as a matter of fact, medical and financial assistance in case of childbirth is often rendered, usually in connection with general sickness insurance institutions. This is the case not only in the compulsory system of sickness insurance in Germany, but also in the voluntary sickness insurance institutions of Italy. But it is the insufficiency of the voluntary system of sickness insurance, its failure to include all those who are in need of it, and the evidence of the special urgency of such insurance for a working woman during childbirth, that created the movement for maternity insurance in Italy. It is very interesting to note that in the reports of the proceedings of the international congresses on workmen's insurance all the reports and discussions on maternity insurance were furnished by Italian delegates, and the Italian legislative work in connection with that problem bears strong evidence of the influence of these reports.
The information obtainable from the six censuses of Italian mutual benefit societies concerning their activity in maternity insurance is somewhat meager. While it shows a rather rapid growth, it nevertheless demonstrates the very limited extent of such relief. The
CHAPTER VII.-WORKMEN'S INSURANCE IN ITALY.
censuses of 1862, 1873, and 1878, unfortunately, do not show this function at all, combining it probably with other forms of sick benefits. The census of 1894 contains no financial data. Thus only a comparison between 1885 and 1904 is possible; and even for these years maternity benefits are combined with all other benefits for nursing. In 1885, 384 societies out of 3,762, or 10.2 per cent, were giving such benefits; in 1894, 451 out of 6,725, or only 6.7 per cent; and in 1904, 572 out of 6,535, or 8.8 per cent. The total expenditure for this purpose in 1885, as far as obtained by that investigation, was only 14,182 lire ($2,737.13), and later data are not available.
SPECIAL PRIVATE MATERNITY INSURANCE INSTITUTIONS.
The organization of a private maternity insurance institution was first proposed before the workmen's insurance congress in Milan in 1894; and the plan proposed was made the object of a vigorous agitation by many organizations of Italian women. A thorough study of the question was undertaken by the Italian Hygienic Society, and in 1898 it prepared the constitution of a maternity insurance institution; and though the institution has never been realized, the plan of the proposed organization is nevertheless of some interest. The object of the projected institution was to grant financial assistance of at least 1 lira (19 cents) per day for 20 days, 8 days before and 12 days after childbirth. The means were to come from contributions of the active members, according to a schedule which was to take the ages of the members into consideration, but private donations were to be solicited. The right to the benefits was made conditional upon at least 300 days of previous membership. A reserve fund was to be created, into which 20 per cent of the annual surplus was payable, while 75 per cent of this surplus was to be redistributed among the active members. The administration was left to the general meeting of all members, and officers were to be elected by this meeting.
Another plan, which also failed, was proposed by the Savings Bank of Bologna. It was a scheme of individual saving rather than insur
It was contemplated to issue special “maternity saving books,” only to girls under 16 years of age who are employed in manual labor, or whose parents are so employed, to be subject to the general rules for savings accounts, except that the savings so made were to be available only in case of childbirth; and as an encouragement to such savings a special fund of 200,000 lire ($38,600) was to be created, the interest of which was to be distributed among the owners of these special maternity accounts. Only in cases of childbirth in marriage, or within the first 300 days of widowhood, were these savings to be repaid.
The first plan which materialized was conceived in Turin. A league for the defense of the interests of women was organized in