Ministry of Labour and Employment has announced additional benefits for workers through ESIC and EPFO schemes to address the fear and anxiety of workers about well-being of their family members due to increase in incidences of death due to COVID -19.
Currently if an Insured Person dies or gets disabled while discharging duties, a life long pension equivalent to 90 per cent of average daily wage drawn by the worker is available to the spouse and widowed mother 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 Insured Persons 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.
The Insured Person 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 disease, their dependants will be entitled to receive monthly payment at 90 per cent of average daily wages of the insured person during their life.
The scheme will be effective for a period of two years from 24th March 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 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 and MP Act, sickness benefit of 70 per cent of wages for 91 days in a year is paid in the event of worker falling sick and not attending office.
A notification issued by the Ministry has made amendments to it. Amount of maximum benefit has been increased from 6 lakhs to 7 lakhs to the family members of deceased employee.
Minimum assurance benefit of Rs. 2.5 lakh to eligible family members of deceased employee 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 or casual labourers who were losing out on benefits due to condition of continuous service of one year in one establishment.
Number of claims on account of death under the scheme has been estimated to be about 50 thousand families per year including increase in claims taking into account estimated death of about 10 thousand workers, which may occur due to Covid.
Labour Ministry said, these welfare measures will provide the much needed support to the families of workers who have died due to COVID-19.