Labour Ministry ensures more social security via EPFO, ESIC schemes

Now, dependents will get pension if the workers insured with ESIC die due to COVID-19

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Ministry of Labour and Employment has introduced more benefits for its employees via schemes run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

These benefits include pension for dependents of those people insured under ESIC and have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Presently, if someone insured under the ESIC dies or becomes disabled due to an accident at work or on duty, the spouse, children and mother (if a widow) is eligible for a pension equivalent to 90 per cent of the average daily wage of the worker all their life. The children receive this benefit till they turn 25. Girl children can enjoy this benefit till they get married.

Now, all dependent family members of the insured persons who are registered on the online portal of the ESIC, at least three months before the insured person was diagnosed with COVID, will, after his/her demise, be eligible for the same benefits and in the same scale, as paid to the dependents of insured persons who die due to of work-related accident/ injury. However, the condition is that the insured person should be registered with the ESIC online portal. Another condition is that the insured person should have been employed for wages and contributions for a minimum of 78 days should have been paid to the deceased in the year immediately before being diagnosed with COVID.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the dependents of the insured persons who lose their lives to COVID will receive monthly payment of 90 per cent of average daily wages of the deceased during their life.

The scheme will be effective from March 24, 2020, for two years.

The maximum sum assured under the group insurance scheme, Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme, run by EPFO has also been increased from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.

These moves are expected to go a long way in lessening the tension and anxiety of employees who are worried about their families’ future should something happen to them amidst the pandemic.

Employees will enjoy additional social security without their employers having to incur any extra cost.

Earlier, the EPFO had announced that under its Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme, all surviving dependent family members of the members of its members will be able to avail benefits of EDLI in case of death in harness of the member. The clause pertaining to minimum required service for payment of gratuity has been eliminated. The maximum benefit to the dependents of the deceased has been hiked from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. Minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh will be paid to the family members of deceased employee who was a member for a continuous period of 12 months in one or more establishments preceding his death, instead of the existing provision of continuous employment in the same establishment for 12 months. This will be of help to contractual or casual labourers who usually lost out on benefits as they could not be employed with one establishment for a year. This minimum compensation will be paid w.e.f Februrary 15, 2020.

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