The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) added 18.88 lakh new members under the ESI scheme in September 2023, according to the labour ministry’s latest payroll data.
The data also showed the registration of around 22,544 new establishments under the scheme. According to the Labour Ministry’s statement, more jobs have been added for the youth during September. Of the 18.88 lakh employees, about 48 per cent or 9.06 lakh were aged 25 or less.
There were also 3.51 lakh women and 61 transgender members who joined ESI in the month.
However, the number of new enrollments was less than the previous month, when it was 1.94 million and 1.98 million in July. Also, the new establishments registered under ESIC in August 2023 were around 24,849; in July this year, they were 27,870.
Let’s learn more about the ESI scheme and its benefits.
What Is ESI?
The ESI scheme offers social security to employees in the organised sector for assistance during medical emergencies, maternity, injury and disability, death due to injury, etc.
It provides complete medical care to employees registered under ESI until they recover and return to work. It also offers financial compensation for wage loss due to absence from work and medical care to family members.
The Employee State Insurance Corporation manages the scheme under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, governed under the Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948.
ESI applies to different establishments, including road transport, construction sites, shops, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, and educational and media institutions where 10 or more people are employed, and ‘ wages are up to Rs 21,000 per month. For a disabled employee, the wage limit is Rs 25,000.
It is a contributory social security scheme where the employee and the employer contribute. The employer’s contribution is 3.25 per cent of the wage, and employees’ contribution is 0.75 per cent, revised on July 1, 2019. Earlier, the limit was 4.75 and 1.75 per cent for employers and employees, respectively.
The scheme offers various medical benefits as follows:
Medical Benefits: The scheme covers medical care for the insured person and the family members from the day the person is employed. Benefits are also available to insured retired and permanently disabled persons and their spouses.
Sickness Benefits: It offers cash benefits to employees. Sickness benefits are 70 per cent of the wage for a maximum sickness period of 91 days a year. It is extended for up to two years if the person suffers from long-term diseases; the cash compensation also increases to 80 per cent of the wage.
Maternity Benefit: Maternity benefit is payable to the employee for 26 weeks, which can be extended further by one month.
Disability Benefits: The employee is covered from day one for disability benefits. In a disability case, the worker can get 90 per cent of the monthly wage.
Dependents: Under this, dependents of employees are covered for financial support if the employee gets injured at work and death occurs. There will be a monthly payment to the dependents, which is 90 per cent of the wage.
Funeral Costs: Dependents can get Rs 15,000 to perform the last rites in case of the insured person’s death. This benefit applies from day one of employment.
Confinement Costs: If confinement occurs where medical facilities are unavailable, the employee is eligible for confinement costs benefit. As per ESIC, ‘Confinement means labour resulting in the issue of a living child or labour after 26 weeks of pregnancy resulting in the issue of a child whether alive or dead’. Besides that, the ESI scheme offers a few need-based benefits:
Vocational Rehabilitation: Any permanently disabled employee undergoing vocational rehabilitation (VR) training can avail of this benefit.
Physical Rehabilitation: Physical rehabilitation benefits are provided to the insured in case of physical disability due to employment injury.