Amid the pandemic and in light of job losses or possible job loss between March 24 and December 31, 2020, the centre on August 20, 2020 relaxed norms for pay-out of unemployment benefit. Accordingly, close to 40 lakh industrial workers will be receiving the benefit which shall be equivalent to 50% of three months' average salary for them.
The approval for the same was granted at the ESIC or Employees State Insurance Corporation board meet chaired by Union labour minister Santosh Gangwar. "The move will give cash benefits equivalent to 50% of the last drawn average wage to eligible insured persons (IP) under ESIC for three months," said Amarjeet Kaur, a board member of the ESIC told over a telephonic interaction.
Further he reiterated had the norm been relaxed even more, there was a possibility of more than 75 lakh workers benefitting from the move.
In the present regime, within the ESIC framework industrial workers with income up to Rs. 21000 per month fall and they contribute some portion of their to the ESIC account. Such workers are referred as IPs and as per the current norms they pay 0.75% of their salary while 3.25% is contributed by the employer to the ESIC account.
Also, as per the board decision any claim made by the industrial worker shall no longer be required to be routed via the employer. "The claim may be submitted directly in the ESIC branch office and the verification of the claim with the employer will be done at the branch office level. The payment shall be made in the bank account of the IPs directly," as per the agenda note of the meeting.
Also, the benefit becomes payable within 30 days from the unemployment date. For identifying the claims, the biometric 12-digit aadhaar ID shall be made use of. And all such relief shall be offered as part of Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana, a scheme that was launched in 2018, which provided for 25% unemployment benefit but saw technical snags.