Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while announcing the second tranche of the economic stimulus on Thursday, said steps are being taken to extend Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) coverage pan-India to all districts and all establishments employing 10 or more employees.
Detailing labour codes for workers, she said: "Portability of welfare benefits for migrant workers. Extension of ESIC coverage pan-India to all districts and all establishments employing 10 or more employees as against those in notified districts/ areas only."
The ESIC benefits include medical, maternity, disability and dependents benefits to insured persons. The contribution is made by the employee and the employer, and ESIC applicability is to non-seasonal factories employing 10 or more persons. Since 2011, the insurance has been extended to private medical and educational institutions, cinemas, newspapers, hotels, shops restaurants, employing 20 or more persons.
Sitharaman added that extension of ESIC coverage to employees working in establishments with less than 10 employees will be on a voluntary basis. For implementing ESIC for hazardous industries, she said: "Mandatory ESIC coverage through notification by Central government for employees in hazardous industries with less than 10 employees."
ESIC provides financial assistance to compensate for the loss of wages, when the employee is unable to join work due to sickness, maternity and injury on employment and during hospitalisation in any hospital associated with an insurance scheme. During the press briefing, Sitharaman also talked about the definition of inter-state migrant worker modified to include migrant workers employed directly by the employer, workers directly coming to the destination state of their own besides the migrant workers employed through a contractor.
"Statutory concept of National Floor Wage introduced will reduce regional disparity in minimum wages. Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) Code also applicable to establishments engaged in work of hazardous nature even with a threshold of less than 10 workers," she added.