The Centre has decided to bring all casual and contractual workers working in municipal bodies under the social security schemes run by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
“The ESI Corporation has been directed to take up the matter with the states/ UTs, being the appropriate government(s) under the ESI Act, for the issue of notification for coverage of casual and contractual workers in the municipal corporation(s)/ council(s) in their respective jurisdictions,” an official statement quoting labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said.
The statement said that for the National Capital Region of Delhi, the Central Government being the appropriate government under the ESI Act, the labour ministry has already issued such ‘intention’ notification on June 7.
Gangwar said that ESI coverage of casual and contractual employees working with municipal bodies shall go a long way in providing social security cover to a very vulnerable segment of the workforce. This shall contribute to the social upliftment of this segment of the workforce and their families.
Once notifications on this are issued by states, the casual and contractual workers working with municipal bodies will be able to avail the full gamut of benefits available under the ESI Act such as sickness benefit, maternity benefit, disablement benefit, dependent’s benefit, funeral expenses etc. These workers will be eligible to avail of medical services through ESI’s 160 hospitals and over 1,500 dispensaries spread over the country.
The ESI scheme is currently applicable to non-seasonal, manufacturing establishments employing 10 or more workers. For health and medical institutions, the threshold limit is 20 or more workers. In the contributory scheme, an employer needs to pay 3.25% of the monthly wages paid to an employee while the employee requires to pay 0.75% of the wages.
Under the social security code, passed in Parliament last year, the government has proposed to bring gig and platform workers under ESI. Option for becoming a member of ESIC has also been given to establishments with less than 10 workers under the social security code.