COVID-19: Centre announces more benefits via ESIC, EPFO for bereaved families

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], May 30 (ANI): In a huge relief to workers who lost their earning member to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labour Ministry on Sunday announced a slew of benefits through ESIC and EPFO schemes to address the fear and anxiety of such workers about the well-being of their family members.

The social security cover by the Centre is "sought to be provided to the workers without any additional cost to the employer," the ministry said in a statement.

Currently for the Insured Persons (IPs) under ESIC, after death or disablement of the IP due to employment injury a pension equivalent to 90 per cent of average daily wage drawn by the worker is available to the spouse and widowed mother for life long and for children till they attain the age of 25 years. For the female child, the benefit is available till her marriage.

To support the families of IPs under the ESIC scheme, it has been decided that, all dependent family members of IPs who have been registered in the online portal of the ESIC prior to their diagnosis of COVID disease and subsequent death due to the disease, will be entitled to receive the same benefits and in the same scale as received by the dependents of insured persons who die as a result of employment injury.

For that, the IP must have been registered on the ESIC online portal at least three months prior to the diagnosis of COVID disease resulting in death and the IP must have been employed for wages and contributions for at least 78 days should have been paid or payable in respect of deceased IP during a period of one year immediately preceding the diagnosis of COVID disease resulting in death.

The IPs, who fulfill the eligibility conditions, and have died due to COVID, their dependents will be entitled to receive monthly payment at 90 per cent of the average daily wages of the insured person during their life. The scheme will be effective for a period of two years from March 24, 2020.

Under the EPFO's Employees' Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme all surviving dependent family members of the members of this scheme are eligible to avail benefits of EDLI in case of death in the harness of the member. At present under this scheme, the benefits extended in case of death of a worker are no requirement of minimum service for payment of Gratuity, family pension is paid as per provisions under EPF & MP Act, sickness benefit of 70 per cent of wages for 91 days in a year is paid in the event of a worker falling sick and not attending office.

A notification issued by the Ministry has made the amendments including, the amount of maximum benefit has been increased from Rs 6 lakhs to Rs 7 lakhs to the family members of the deceased employee, minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh to eligible family members of deceased employees who was a member for a continuous period of 12 months in one or more establishments preceding his death in place of existing provision of continuous employment in the same establishment for 12 months. It will benefit contractual/casual labourers who were losing out on benefits due to the condition of continuous one year in one establishment.

The amendments also include restoration of provision of a minimum Rs 2.5 lakh compensation retrospectively, in essence from February 15, 2020, while in the coming 3 years, the actuary has estimated that eligible family members will get an additional benefit of Rs. 2185 crore from EDLI fund in the years 2021-22 to 2023-24.

In addition, the amendment also includes the number of claims on account of death under the scheme has been estimated to be about 50,000 families per year including the increase in claims taking into account the estimated death of about 10,000 workers, which may occur due to COVID. (ANI)

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