Workers, insured under Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) and losing job during pandemic, can claim 50 per cent of average wage as unemployment benefit. This benefit is available under Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna.
ESIC, an organisation under Labour Ministry, has decided to extend the scheme for one more year i.e. up to June 30, 2021. Along with this, existing conditions and the amount of relief for workers, who have lost employment during the Covid-19 pandemic period, has also been relaxed. Now, the payment of relief has been enhanced to 50 per cent of average of wages from earlier 25 per cent of average wages payable up to maximum 90 days of unemployment. Instead of the relief becoming payable 90 days after unemployment, it will become due for payment after 30 days.
The insured person should have been insurable employment for a minimum period of 2 years before his/her unemployment and should have contributed for not less than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding to unemployment and minimum 78 days in one of the remaining 3 contribution periods in two years prior to unemployment. The Insured Person can submit the claim directly to ESIC Branch Office instead of the claim being forwarded by the last employer and the payment shall be made directly in the bank account of IP.
The enhanced relief under the relaxed conditions will be payable during the period of March 24, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Thereafter, the scheme will be available with original eligibility condition during the period January-June. It has been proposed to review these conditions after December 31 depending upon the need and demand for such relaxed condition.
All these decisions were taken during meeting of ESIC under the Chairmanship of Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar late on Thursday.
As on date ESI covers about 3.49 crore of family units of workers and providing cash benefits and reasonable medical care to its 13.56 crore beneficiaries. Its infrastructure has increased many folds with 1,520 dispensaries (including mobile dispensaries)/307 ISM units and 159 ESI hospitals, 793 branch/pay offices and 64 regional & sub-regional offices. The ESI Scheme today stands implemented in 566 districts in 34 States and Union Territories of the country.
During the meeting, it was also decided to establish ICU/HDU services up to 10 per cent of total commissioned beds in all ESIC hospitals. So far, 23 ESIC hospitals with around 2,600 isolation beds and approximately 1,350 quarantine beds across India are functioning as Covid-19 dedicated hospitals. In addition to above, around 961 Covid isolation beds are available in most of the remaining ESIC hospitals across the country, making a total of 3,597 Covid isolation beds in various ESIC hospitals. Further, a total of 555 ICU/HDU beds with 213 ventilators have also been made available in these hospitals.