Employee State Insurance Act (ESI) is established in 1948 and it is health insurance for Indian workers. It is an autonomous corporation by a statutory creation under the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India. The Corporation can set up hospitals either independently or in collaboration with the state government or other private entities but most of the hospitals & dispensaries are run by the state government.
It is applicable to all factories & other establishments where 10 or more persons & has been extended to other undertakings & newspaper establishments employing 20 or more persons. ESI shall be deducted only for those employees whose wages are less than 21000/- per month, engaged directly or through a contractor.
Employee State Insurance or ESI is a scheme commenced by the Government of India to offer medical, monetary, and other advantages to workers. ESI is managed by an autonomous authority – Employee State Insurance Corporation – which lies under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The ESI Scheme is a self-financing scheme. The ESI funds are primarily built out of contribution from employers and employees payable monthly at a fixed percentage of wages. The State Government concerned also contributes its share to meet the cost of Medical Benefit.
Employees drawing the salary up to INR 21000/- per month is covered under this scheme. Now, items which are included to compute salary under this scheme is given underneath:
ESI wage limit has been increased to Rs. 21000 from Rs 15000 per month with effect from 1st January 2017. It was INR 15,000 per month from 1st May 2010 to 1st January 2017 and 1st May 2010 INR 7500/- per month. The Salary Limit keep is changed by the Central Government from time to time keeping in mind the inflation rate, economic growth, and other indirect factors.
Complete medical care and attention are provided by the scheme to the employee registered under the ESI Act, 1948 at the time of his incapacity, restoration of his health and working capacity. During absenteeism from work due to illness, maternity, or factory accidents which result in loss of wages complete financial assistance is provided to the employees to compensate for the wage loss. The scheme provides medical care to family members also. As of 31 March 2017, 2.93 crore employees are covered under this scheme with the total number of beneficiaries summing up to 12.40 crores. Broadly, the benefits under this scheme are categorized under two categories, 1) cash benefits (which includes sickness, maternity, disablement (temporary and permanent), funeral expenses, rehabilitation allowance, vocational rehabilitation, and medical bonus) and, 2) non-cash benefits through medical care.
The scheme is self-financing and being contributory in nature. The funds under the ESI scheme are primarily built out of the contribution from the employees and employers payable monthly at a fixed percentage of wages paid. Currently, the employee contribution rate is 1.00% of the wages and that of employers is 4.00% of the wages paid. For newly implemented areas, the contribution rate is 1% and 3% respectively for employee and employer for the first 24 months. The employer makes the contribution form its own share in favor of those employees whose daily average wage is Rs 137 as these employees are exempted from own contribution The employer is required to pay his contribution and deduct employees’ contribution from wages and deposit the same with ESIC within 15 days from the last day of the calendar month in which the contribution fall due. The payment can either be done online or through designated and authorized public sector banks.
EPF registration is mandatory for all establishments:
Central Government may apply any establishment employing less than 20 employees after giving not less than two months’ notice for compulsory registration
Where the employer and majority of employees have agreed that the provisions of this act should be made applicable to the establishment, they may themselves apply to the Central PF Commissioner. The Central PF Commissioner may apply the provisions of this Act to that establishment after passing the notification in the Official Gazette from the date of such agreement or from any subsequent date specified in the agreement.
Some establishments having less than 20 employees would also be required to obtain PF registration but that is voluntary registration. All the employees will be eligible for a PF from the commencement of their employment and the responsibility of deduction & payment of PF lies with the employer.
The monthly payment amount under EPF Administrative charges is rounded to the nearest rupee and a minimum of Rs 500/- is payable.
Note:- If the establishment has no contributory member in the month, the minimum administrative charge will be Rs 75/-
Every employer covered under this act has to comply with various compliances such as deposit of monthly contribution, in order to file half yearly return and report to ESIC authorities if there is any change in business activity, address, ownership, and the management, maintenance of registers and records, etc.
In addition to the Muster roll, wage record and books of Account maintained under other laws, the employer is required to maintain the following records for ESI:
Reports: Accident report in Form 12 in case any accident takes place, to the notice of the Accident. Absence verification reports such as Employee Records including attendance, wages, and books of accounts.
The financial year from April to March has been divided into two six-monthly contribution periods i.e. 1st April to 30th September and 1st October to 31st March of the next year.
The relevant period of benefit corresponding to each period of contribution commences three months after the end of that contribution period i.e. Jan to June and July to December (The calendar year has been divided into two six-monthly benefits periods).
There are a number of attractive features and benefits that are offered by the Employee State Insurance Corporation. Not only does it provide medical benefits but it also comes with a level of financial security in times of financial hardship like unemployment, etc. Some of these are listed below:
Other benefits that are offered with ESI are: