On a day when the Narendra Modi government completed its seven-year rule, the Ministry of Labour and Employment announced additional benefits for workers through social security schemes run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits include pension for dependents of insured ESIC persons, who died due to COVID-19 and hike in maximum sum assured under the Employees' Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme(EDLI), run by EPFO, to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 6 lakh.
To support the families of Insured Persons (IP) under the ESIC scheme, all dependent family members, who have been registered in the online portal of the ESIC prior to the IPs diagnosis of COVID-19 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, subject to two eligibility conditions.
The first condition is that the IP should be registered on the ESIC online portal at least three months prior to the diagnosis of COVID-19, resulting in death. Secondly, the IP should be employed for wages and contributions for at least 78 days should be paid or payable in respect of the deceased IP during a period of one year immediately preceding the diagnosis of COVID-19, resulting in death.
For the IPs who fulfill the eligibility conditions and have died due to COVID-19, their dependents will be entitled to receive a monthly payment at 90% 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. The ministry, under the EPFO’s EDLI scheme, has increased the maximum benefit to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 6 lakh to the family members of deceased employees. A minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh will be given to eligible family members of deceased employees, who were a member for a continuous period of 12 months in one or more establishments preceding their death in place of the 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.