The Government of India through its notification in the official gazette dated: 25th May, 2010 has enacted The Employees’ State Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2010 to amend the earlier ESIC Act, 1948. The ESIC (Amendment) Act, 2010 has received assent of the President on 24th May 2010.
Further, as per the Government of India Gazette Notification No. S.O. 1296(E) dated: 1st June 2010, the Central Government has appointed the 1st day of June, 2010, as the date on which the said Act, except Section 18 thereof, shall come into force. Amended Section 18 comes into force on 3rd July, 2010.
Following inter alia, are the salient features of the Employees’ State Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2010.
1. These amendments will substantially improvise the medical and other benefits under the Scheme. Emphasis has been given for development and expansion of infrastructure for augmenting the benefits under the Scheme.
2. APPRENTICES COVERED:
Benefits under the scheme have also been extended to apprentices and trainees employed under Apprentice Act and Standing Order Act.
3. POWER TO APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT
The appropriate Government is empowered to extend the provisions of ESIC Act 1948 to any other establishment or class of establishments, industrial, commercial, agricultural or otherwise after giving one month’s notice of its intention of doing so by notification in Official Gazette instead of notice period of six months.
4. DEFINITION OF DEPENDENT EXPANDED:
Definition of “dependents” as contained in clause 6A of section 2 of the Act has been extended to enlarge the number of beneficiaries under the act such as:
A widow, a legitimate or adopted son below the age of 25 years and an unmarried legitimate or adopted daughter.
The age limit of the dependents has been enhanced from 18 to 25.
5. Dependent parents as per definition of “family” has been substituted so as to include;
“A minor brother or sister wholly dependent upon the earnings of the insured person in case the insured person is unmarried and his or her parents are not alive”. It has been also clarified that dependent parents to include “Dependent parents, whose income from all sources does not exceed such income as prescribed by the Central Government”.
6. SMALL FACTORIES ALSO ARE COVERED:
The definition of Factory under Section 2(12) has been amended to expand coverage of smaller factories. The amended Act covers all factories, which employ 10 or more persons irrespective of the fact whether the manufacturing process is being carried out with the aid of the power or without the aid of the power.
7. INSPECTORS RE-DESIGNATED AS SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICERS:
The designation of Inspector has been re-designated as “Social Security Officer” to enroll them as facilitator of the Scheme rather than to act as mere inspectors.
8. VRS EMPLOYEES ALSO COVERED:
Medical benefits to the insured person and his spouse have been extended under circumstances where insured person retires under Voluntary Retirement Scheme or takes premature retirement. In the earlier Act the benefit was applicable only on attaining the age of superannuation. Proviso to sub section 3 of section 56 has been substituted to provide the same.
9. NOTIONAL EXTENSION OF PREMISES:
Accident occurring to an insured person while commuting from his residence to the place of employment and vice-a-versa shall be deemed to have arisen out of and in the course of employment for the purpose of benefit under the Act. A new section 51-E has been added for this purpose.
10 UNORGANIZED SECTOR EMPLOYEES COVERED:
A new Chapter V-A has been added to enable provision for extending medical care to non insured persons against payment of user-charges to facilitate providing medical care to the below poverty line (BPL) families and other unorganized sector workers covered under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
11. Exemption of a factory or establishment
or class of factories or establishments from the operation of this Act will be granted only if the employees in such factories or establishments are otherwise in receipt of benefits substantially similar or superior to the benefits provided under this Act.
12. Section 91 A of the Act is amended to removing retrospective grant of exemption from the provision of the Act.