Government looking to amend rules for availing unemployment benefit under ESIC


NEW DELHI: In a move that could bring succor to millions staring at job losses, the government is looking to amend the rules for availing unemployment benefit under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation.

A top government official told ET that the labour ministry is in talks with the finance ministry on the proposed changes.

Proposed changes could include providing unemployment benefits of up to 50% of the last drawn salary for three months as against 25% of the salary available under the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) currently. Time period could be extended further if needed, the official said.

The ABVKY provides unemployment insurance to workers who have subscribed to the ESIC.

The proposed plan also includes relaxation in eligibility criterion to ensure more people to draw benefit. At present, two years of insurable employment is needed, which could be slashed to 78 days.

Another key condition that permits a subscriber to avail the benefit of the scheme only once in lifetime could be done away with, the official added.

The ESI is a self-financing health insurance scheme for formal sector workers in India and is managed by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

It applies to all factories and establishments employing at least 10 workers. ESIC currently has 3.19 crore subscribers and a corpus of Rs 91,444.07 crore, out of which Rs 23,151.77 crore is earmarked as reserve fund.

Changes to the norms are expected to benefit a large number as job losses mount due to the nationwide lockdown. Rough estimates show about nine million jobs could be lost.

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