The Employee State Insurance Scheme (ESI) is one of the largest social security schemes, globally under the aegis of Employee’s State Insurance Corporation, a division of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. ESI provides primarily sickness benefits and some other benefits to approximately thirteen crores (130 million) Indians that include insured employees and their dependents.
Applicability and Extent of coverage
This scheme extends to the whole of India and covers all places of business registered under either the Factories Act or the Shops and Establishments Act, where 10 or more employees are working. It is mandatory for an employee to be covered by her/his employer if he/she is within the threshold limit of wages i.e., all such employees whose monthly wages are up to and equal to Rs. 21,000 per month. It is the responsibility of the employer to get eligible employees covered under the ESIC scheme. Monthly Salary limit for coverage under the ESIC Scheme for employees with disability is Rs. 25,000 p.m. instead of Rs. 21,000 p.m. in other cases. The subscriber base is rapidly increasing, every month lacs of new employees are joining the labour market and becoming the member of the ESIC Scheme.
Benefits of ESIC
Besides protection against the medical expenses, the scheme provides and protects the insured persons and his/her spouse for maternity benefits, hospitalization, surgery, unemployment benefits, disablement, injuries caused during employment. Even in case of death of an insured employee, an amount up to Rs. 15,000 is paid to the kin of the deceased employee.
Medical Care is also extended to the retired and permanently disabled insured persons and their spouses on payment of an annual premium amount of Rs. 120 only.
The aim of the scheme is to protect the basic rights of dignity and self-respect, during unforeseen circumstances in order, to negate the physical and financial distress under such contingencies. A small percentage of the monthly wage is contributed to the scheme by the Employee and his employer to get insured under the ESIC Scheme and to become eligible for numerous benefits stated above.