Keeping in mind the rising number of deaths in the country owing to Corona virus pandemic, the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Sunday announced additional benefits for family of workers through Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) schemes, who have died due to the infection.
These measures, official sources said, will address the concerns of families of those workers who have died due to Covid, and help them tide over financial difficulties.
Announcing a slew of amendments, the Labour Ministry said that enhanced social security is sought to be provided to workers without any additional cost to the employer.
Currently for the insured persons under ESIC, after death or disablement due to employment injury, a pension equivalent to 90 per cent of average daily wage drawn by the worker is made available to the spouse and widowed mother for whole life and for children till they attain the age of 25 years. For the female child, the benefit is available till her marriage.
To support the families of insured persons under the ESIC scheme, all dependent family members of the insured persons, who have been registered in the online portal of ESIC prior to their diagnosis of Covid disease and subsequent death due to it, will be entitled to receive the same benefits and in the same scale as received by the dependents of insured persons who die as a result of employment injury, subject to eligibility.
However, the insured persons must have been registered on the ESIC online portal at least three months prior to the diagnosis of Covid disease resulting in death, to avail the benefit.
Amendments announced by Government
As per the notification issued by the Ministry of Labour, the amount of maximum benefit has been increased from 6 lakhs to 7 lakhs to the family members of dead employee.
In addition to this, according to another amendment, a minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh to eligible family members of dead employees will be given, who was a member for a continuous period of 12 months in one or more establishments preceding his death.
This provision is in place of the existing norm of continuous employment in the same establishment for 12 months. It will benefit contractual or casual labourers, who were losing out on benefits due to the condition of continuous one year employment in one establishment.
The ministry has also restored the provision of minimum Rs 2.5 lakh compensation retrospectively, that is from February 15, 2020 onwards.
The number of claims on account of death under the scheme has been estimated to be about 50,000 families per year, including increase in claims taking into account estimated death of about 10,000 workers, which may occur due to Covid.