Committee on Economic Security (CES)

Volume VI. Social Insurance

I. Security for Agricultural Workers


Olga S. Halsey

To: Mr. Witte

From: Olga S. Halsey


Members ratify the Conventions, adopted June 1933 but not yet in effect, on compulsory old-age insurance, invalidity insurance and widows' and orphans' insurance for persons employed in agricultural undertakings, agree to set up insurance schemes at least equivalent to the following provisions of Part I of this memorandum. These Conventions come into force 1 year after their ratification by two members. As of October 15, 1934, none of these 1933 Conventions has been ratified. Pending the dates when the Convention first come into force, alternative provisions in those countries which have no compulsory insurance may be held to satisfy these Conventions, as given in Part II. The Convention on sickness insurance, adopted May 1927 is in effect and has been ratified by seven Members.

In the following memorandum, the corresponding provisions of all these Conventions have been grouped together with indications as to the Convention in which these various provisions are found. Naturally there are some differences arising because of the different types of risk covered.


*The Convention on Old-Age Insurance will be referred to in the text as O.A. Ins.; that on Invalidity Insurance as I. Ins.; that on Widows' and Orphan's Insurance as W. O. Ins.; and that on Sickness Insurance as S. Ins.
A. Included groups

Manual and nonmanual workers in agricultural undertakings, including apprentices and domestic servants in households of agricultural employers (exclusive, however, of domestic servants in S. Ins.)
O. A. Ins. - Art. 2, Sec. 1
I. Ins. - Art. 2, Sec. 1
W. & O. Ins.- Art. 2, Sec. 1
S. Ins. - Art. 2, Sec. 1
B. Excepted groups

The exception of the following groups is permitted Members:
O A. 2, 2
I. 2, 2
W. & O. 2, 2
S. 2. 2

  1. Workers not remunerated above a prescribed amount and those in liberal professions (in S. Ins. Only those workers with a remuneration above a prescribed amount);
  2. Workers not paid a money wage;
  3. Young workers and those too old to be insured when first employed;
  4. Home workers whose conditions of employment do not resemble those of wage earners;
  5. Members of the employer's family;
  6. Persons whose employment is so short that they cannot qualify for benefit; (not included in S. Ins.); those engaged in subsidiary employment;
  7. Students working during period of study (not included in S. Ins.);
  8. Invalid workers and those in receipt of invalidity for old-age pensions (not included in S. Ins.);
  9. Retired public officials and those with private incomes equivalent to that provided by legislation (not included in S. Ins.);
  10. Those entitled under legislation or special schemes to benefits equivalent to those provided under the Convention.
A. Conventions required that persons shall be permitted to continue insurance voluntarily unless the rights are automatically maintained or, in the case of married women, that the husband, of not subject to compulsory insurance, shall be permitted to insure voluntarily and entitle the wife to an old-age or a widow's pension. O.A. - 3
I. - 3
W. & O. - 3
B. Persons who cease insurance without being entitled to pensions shall retain their rights in respect to contributions credited to their accounts, provided that these rights may be terminated under specified conditions. O.A. -6
I. - 6
W. & O. -5
C. Qualify Period  
1. The right to a pension may be subject to a qualifying period which may involve a minimum total number of contributions and a minimum during a prescribed period previous to the occurrence of the risk insured against. (In S. Ins. Payment of benefit may be conditioned on a qualifying period and a waiting period of not more than 3 days.) O.A. -5
I. - 5,1
W. & O. - 4, 1
S. - 2
2. The qualifying period shall not exceed 60-contribution months or 250-contribution weeks. I. 5-2
W. & O. - 4, 2
3. Where the laws require minimum contributions during a prescribed period immediately preceding the risk insured against, weeks of sickness or unemployment benefit shall count as contribution weeks as determined by national laws and regulations. I. - 5, 3
W. & S. - 4,3
A. The Amount

1. Cash Benefit
O. A. - 7
I. - 7
W. & O. - 9 
a. Pension shall be a fixed amount or a percentage of the remuneration taken into account for the insurance contributions or may vary with contributions;

b. When the pension varies with period of insurance and is dependent upon completion of a qualifying period, the pension shall include a fixed sum or portion not dependent on period of insurance-unless a guaranteed minimum is provided;

c. When pension is independent of qualifying period, pension may provide for a guaranteed minimum rate;

d. When contribution is graduated on the basis of remuneration, the remuneration taken into account for contributions, shall be taken into consideration in fixing the pension;
e. In case of sickness insurance, cash benefit shall be provided for at least the first 26 weeks of illness. S. -3
2. Benefits in Kind I. -8
W. & O. - 10
Insurance institutions shall be authorized to provide benefits in kind to prevent, postpone, alleviate, or cure invalidity of persons in receipt of pension or of those who may be entitled to claim invalidity pension. In sickness insurance, the insured shall be entitled free of charge from the beginning of illness and at least until the expiration of sickness benefit, to medical care by qualified practitioners and to medicines; but the insured may be required to pay part of cost. Medical care may be granted to dependent members of the families of the insured.

S- 4,5

B. Conditions for Receipt of Benefit

1. Old age pensions

a. The age at which the insured shall be entitled to a pension shall not exceed 65.
O.A. -4
2. Invalidity pension

a. Insured persons who become "generally incapacitated for work and thereby unable to earn appreciable remuneration" shall be entitled to an invalidity pension; provided that legislation which secures medical treatment throughout invalidity, and, if invalidity results in death, which rants a pension at full rates to widows without condition as to age or invalidity and to orphans, may make pension conditional upon inability to perform remunerative work;
I. - 4, 1&2
b. In special schemes for nonmanual workers, invalidity pensions shall be payable when the insured is suffering from an incapacity which renders him incapable of earning an appreciable remuneration in his own or similar occupation. I. - 4, 3
3. Widows' and Orphans' Pensions  
a. Minimum benefits

Minimum benefits shall be:
(1) Pensions to widows who have not remarried and to the children of a deceased insured or pensioned person
W. & O. -6
(2) Children of a specified age which shall be not less than 14 shall be of entitled to a pension upon the death of either parent, provided that the pension on the death of an insured or pensioned mother may be continued upon her having contributed to the support of the child or upon her having been a widow at the time of her death; W. & O. - 8, 1 & 2
b. Limitation upon benefits W. & O. - 7
1, 2, 3, 4
(1) The right to a widow's pension may be restricted to those above a specified age or who are invalid, with the exception of special schemes for nonmanual workers;

(2) The right to widow's pension may be restricted to cases in which marriage has lasted a prescribed period and was contracted before the insured reached a prescribed age;

(3) Pension may be withheld, if at the time of death and the insured or pensioned person, the marriage had been dissolved, or separation been pronounced with wife solely at fault.
 4. Sickness benefit

Persons "rendered incapable of work by reason of abnormal state of bodily or mental health" shall be entitled to sickness benefit for 26 weeks.
 S. -3
C. Conditions under which benefit may be held withheld or suspended.

1. Benefit may be forfeited or suspended in the following cases:
a. Fraudulent behavior toward the insurance institution by the insured or person entitled to benefit. O. A. - 8
b. If the insured has caused his invalidity by "criminal offense" or by "willful misconduct." I. - 9
c. If death is caused by willful misconduct of the insured or of the person who may become entitled to the benefit. W. & O. - 11, 1
2. Benefit may be suspended under the following conditions:  
a. While the insured is in employment involving compulsory insurance. I. - 9, 1
b. Entirely maintained at public expense or in the case of invalidity and widows' and orphans' insurance by a social insurance institution. O. A. - 8
I. - 9,2
W. & O. - 11, 2
c. While in receipt of other periodical benefit. O. A. - 8
I. - 9, 2
W. & O. - 11, 2
d. Refusal without valid reason to comply with physician's orders or the removal from supervision of the insurance institution. I. - 9. 2
W. & O. - 11, 2
e. In the case of widows' pensions, living with another man as his wife when in receipt of a widow's pension granted without reference to age or invalidity. W. & O. - 11, 2
3. Benefit may be withheld under the following conditions:

a. Cash benefit
(1) When in receipt of compensation, to which he is legally entitled , from another source on account of the same illness, sick benefit may be withheld to the extent that compensation is equal to or less than the benefit provided. S. - 3
(2) While the insured does not suffer any loss of normal product of his labor or is maintained at the expense of the insurance fund or public funds; nevertheless, where the insured has family responsibilities, benefit shall be only partially withheld;  
(3) While the insured refuses without valid reason to comply with physician's orders or remove himself from the supervision of the insurance institution;  
(4) Benefit may be refuses or reduced in case of sickness caused by the insured's willful misconduct;  
b. Medical benefit

Medical benefit may be withheld for reasons in (4) above.
S. - 4
A. Insured Workers and their Employers shall contribute to insurance O. A. - 9, 1
I. - 10, 1
W. & O. - 12, 1
S. - 7
B. The following employees may be exempted:

Apprentices and young workers under a prescribed age;

Workers not paid a money wage or whose wages are very low;

Workers in the service of an employer who pays contributions assessed independently of wages;
O. A. - 9, 2
I. - 10, 2
W. & O. - 12, 2
C. The government shall contribute to old-age insurance, invalidity insurance and widows' and orphans' insurance covering employed persons in general or manual workers. O. A. - 9, 4
I. - 10, 4
W. & O. - 12, 4
A. Administrative set up  
1. The insurance shall be administered by institutions founded by public authorities and not conducted with a view to profit, or by state insurance funds, provided that national laws may entrust administration to organizations founded on the initiative of the parties concerned and approved by public authorities; (provision in sickness insurance is substantially the same. Article 6) O. A. - 10, 1 & 2
I. - 11, 1 & 2
W. & O. - 13, 1 & 2
2. State insurance funds shall be administered separately from public funds; O. A. - 10, 3
I. - 11, 3
W. & O. - 13, 3
3. Representative of the insured shall participate in the management of the insurance organizations, as provided by law which may decide as to the representation of the employers and the public authorities; O. A. - 10, 4
I. - 11, 4
W. & O. - 13, 4
4. Self-governing institutions shall be under the administration and financial supervision of public authorities. O. A. - 10, 5
I. - 11, 5
W. & O. - 13, 5
S. - 6
B. Appeal O. A. - 11
I. - 12
W. & O. - 14
S. - 8
1. The insured and their legal representatives shall have the right of appeal on questions concerning benefit;

2. Special tribunals shall be established for disputed concerning benefits which shall include qualified judges or shall be assisted by chosen representatives of the insured and their employers;

3. The employee shall have the right of appeal concerning the liability to insurance and the rate of contributions; and where the employers contribute, the employer also shall have a right of appeal on these questions.
I. - 13
W. & O. - 15
A. Liability to insurance, to contributions and rights to benefits shall be the same for foreigners and their dependents or survivors as are granted to nationals:  
B. Foreign insured persons and dependents and survivors, if nationals of a Member bound by this Convention, the laws or regulations of which provide for a state subsidy conforming to this Convention, shall be entitled to a subsidy supplementing pensions payable out of public funds;  


Nations which do not have compulsory insurance in existence when the Conventions on
old age insurance, invalidity, and widows' and orphans' insurance come into effect (i.e., 1 year after ratification by two Members) shall be deemed to satisfy the Convention if existing pension plans conform to the following standards.
A. Old Age O. A. -16
Pension awarded at not more than age 65  
B. Invalidity
Persons "generally capacitated for work and thereby unable to earn an appreciable remuneration" shall be entitled to a pension.
I. - 17
C. Survivors' W. & O. - 19
1. The following shall be entitled to a pension:

a. Every widow who has not remarried and has at least two dependent children

b. Every orphan, i.e., child who has lost both parents.
2. Pensions may be subject to the following limitations:

a. The circumstances under which an illegitimate child shall be deemed to be the child of a widow.

b. The age of children's dependency, which shall in no case be less than 14.
A. Length of residence O. A. -17
I. - 18
W. & O. - 20
1. Benefit
A pension may be conditioned upon length of residence in territory of national immediately preceding the claim, but the required residence period shall not exceed 10 years in the case of old age pension; 5 years for availability pension; and 5 years residence of deceased husband, widow or parents in case of widows' and orphans' pension.
B. Means Test O. A. - 22
I. - 23
1. A pension may be granted, subject to the provision that a claimant shall be entitled to a pension if the annual value of his means does not exceed a specified limit;

2. In determining means, income up to a specified maximum shall be exempted.
C. Disqualification

The right to a pension may be forfeited or suspended in whole or in part under the following circumstances:
O. A. - 22
I. - 23
a. Where the person concerned has been sentenced to imprisonment for criminal offense;

b. Attempted to obtain a pension by fraud;

c. Has persistently refused to earn his living by work compatible with his strength or capacity;
d. Has brought about invalidity by criminal offense or his willful misconduct, in case of invalidity insurance only; I. - 23
e. In the case of widows' and orphans' pensions, the right may be forfeited or suspended wholly or in part, if the widow or person responsible for a child has obtained or attempted to obtain a pension fraudulently. W. & O. - 25
2. Pension may be suspended in whole or in part while the person is entirely maintained at public expense. O. A. - 22
I. - 23
W. & O. - 25
A. The rate of pension, together with any means of claimant in excess of that exempted, shall be sufficient to cover "essential needs of pensioner." O. A. - 19
I. - 20
W. & O. - 22
A. Claimant shall have the right of appeal in any dispute concerning the rate of pension. O. A. - 20
I. - 21
W. & O. - 23
B. An appeal shall be to an authority other than that which gave the first decision.  
I. - 22
W. & O. - 24
A. Foreigners (and their widows and orphans in the case of widows' and orphans' pensions) who are nationals of a member bound by the Convention shall be entitled to pensions on the same ground as nationals;  
B. Pensions to foreigners may be conditioned upon residence in the territory of a Member for not more than 5 years in excess of that required of nationals.  

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