Aiming to make its health Insurance more inclusive, the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to raise the monthly wage threshold to Rs. 21,000/- in view of price rise and salary hike. Now, workers drawing a monthly salary of up to Rs 21,000 will be entitled to treatment during cases of sickness, maternity, disability and death due to injury during work.
Raising the wage ceiling from the existing Rs 15,000/- per month will help ESIC add 5 million workers. The move is expected to bring in 20 million individuals (assuming a family of 4) under the health Insurance net.
Recently, the government hiked the minimum wage for unskilled non-farm workers by 42 per cent to Rs. 350/- per day, from the existing Rs. 246/-. ESIC raised its wage ceiling by 40 per cent, considering the increase in minimum wages by the government.
ESIC has not only increased the wage limit, but allowed insured persons to opt for continuing the cover even if their salary breaches the ceiling. An employer has to contribute 4.75 per cent of a worker's salary towards ESIC as contribution while for workers; it stands at 1.75 per cent.
The decisions will come into effect from October 1, 2016
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 (MB Bill)
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 to amend the Maternity Benefit Act 1961 (MB Act) was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 11th August 2016. Subject to approval by the Lok Sabha and Presidential assent, the MB Bill is all set to be a statute on and from the date that it is notified in the Official Gazette. Post the recently concluded monsoon session of the Parliament, the MB Bill is now expected to be introduced in the Lok Sabha only in the upcoming winter session (usually, held during November-December), unless the proposed amendments to the MB Act are introduced by way of an ordinance in accordance with Article 123 (1) of the Constitution of India any time sooner.
The MB Act regulates the employment of women employees in factories, mines and shops or establishments for certain periods before and after childbirth and provides for post – partum care and other related benefits.
Some Of The Highlights Of The MB Bill Are As Follows:
- Increased Paid Maternity Leave: The MB Bill seeks to increase the duration of maternity leave available for women employees from the existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Earlier, under the MB Act this benefit could be availed by an employee starting upto 6 weeks before the expected delivery date and extending upto 6 weeks after the childbirth. This has now been increased to 8 weeks before the expected date of delivery and remaining 18 weeks to be availed post childbirth. For women who have 2 or more children, the duration of maternity leave shall continue to be 12 weeks (i.e. 6 weeks pre and 6 weeks post expected-delivery date).
- Maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers: Keeping in line with the times, the MB Bill progressively seeks to extend certain benefits under the MB Act to adoptive mothers as well. The MB Bill provides that every woman employee who adopts a child shall be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, from the date of adoption.
- Work from Home option: The MB Bill has also introduced an enabling provision relating to “work from home” for women employees, which may be exercised after the expiry of the 26 week period. Depending upon the nature of work, women employees may be able to avail this benefit on terms that are mutually agreed with the employer. Though not a statutory entitlement, it provides an encouraging tool to employers to adopt flexibility in the way women employees could function without disrupting the much needed care for their ward.
- Crèche facility: The MB Bill seeks to make crèche facility mandatory for every establishment employing 50 or more women employees. Women employees would be permitted to visit the crèche 4 times during the course of the day.
- Employee awareness: The MB Bill makes it mandatory for employers to educate women employees about the maternity benefits available to them at the time of their appointment.
To avail of any legal advisory, Register as a CAP- Affiliate, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org