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October 18, 2020

Get 50% Salary for 3 months if you have lost your job during Pandemic

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Compliance Law

Get 50% Salary for 3 months if you have lost your job during Pandemic

The economic impact of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India has been largely disruptive. The COVID-19 crisis led to a spike in the country’s unemployment rate. Analysts have been warning about the spectre of unemployment ever since the country was put under a lockdown on March 25 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrest the spread of the coronavirus infections.

Scenes of migrants fleeing urban centres including Delhi and Mumbai only confirmed the long-held concerns on their employment as the economic activity came to a grinding halt. In September 2020, India saw an unemployment rate of over 6%.

This was a significant improvement from the previous months. A damaging impact on an economy as large as India’s caused due a total lockdown was imminent. Unemployment went up to 23% in May 2020. This was possibly a result of a decrease in demand as well as the disruption of workforce faced by companies.

The Centre is launching a campaign called Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) under which Employees’ State Insurance Corporation-registered workers, who lost their jobs during the lockdown, can claim for 50% of their salary for up to 3 months even if they have resumed work.

ESIC is going to deploy its Rs 44,000 crore kitty with a formal notification. Earlier, the financial assistance was provided within 90 days of the job loss and it has now been reduced to 30 days. This Scheme will be available with original eligibility condition during the period January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021, after December 31, 2020.

What was the benefit under the ABVKY?

Under ABVKY, in case the Insured Person (IP) is rendered unemployed, provides relief to the extent of 25% of the average per day earning during the previous four contribution periods (total earning during the four contribution period/730) to be paid up to maximum 90 days of unemployment once in lifetime of the IP on submission of claim in form of an Affidavit.

ESI Corporation has taken the decision to extend the scheme for another one year i.e. from 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021. It has been decided to enhance the rate of unemployment relief under the scheme to 50% of wages from earlier rate of 25% along with the relaxation of eligibility conditions for insured workers who have lost their employment due to COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown. The enhanced benefit and relaxed conditions are applicable during the period 24th March 2020 to 31st December 2020. 

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Relaxed eligibility conditions (during 24.03.2020 to 31.12.2020)

  • The insured person should have been in insurable employment for minimum 2 years immediately before his/her unemployment and should have contributed for not less than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding to unemployment and minimum 78 days in one of the remaining 3 contribution periods in 2 years prior to unemployment.
  • Relief shall become due for payment 30 days from date of unemployment.
  • The claim of the person need not be forwarded by his employer. The claim may be submitted directly in the branch office and the verification of the claim with the employer will be done at the Branch Office Level.
  • The payment will be done in the bank account of the person within 15 days from the receipt of the claim.
  • Aadhaar shall be used for identification of the Insured Person.
  • Relief to the extent of 50% of the average pay day earning during the previous 4 contribution periods to be paid up to maximum 90 days of unemployment.

How is one supposed to apply for the Scheme?

This online process is for the workers who are currently unemployed and to claim the amount.

Can one fill the application form directly on the online portal?

The applicants should download the application form and fill it manually offline.

Coverage of the Scheme

The relief will be paid directly to the bank accounts of workers. Labour Minister, while lauding the efforts of ESIC said that at present, ESIC is providing benefits/services to about 3.49 Crore of family units of workers and providing matchless cash benefits and reasonable medical care to its 13.56 crore beneficiaries. 

Today, its infrastructure has increased many folds with 1520 Dispensaries (including mobile dispensaries)/307 ISM Units and 159 ESI Hospitals, 793 Branch/Pay Offices and 64 Regional & Sub-Regional Offices and implemented in 566 districts in 34 States/UTs.

Under the new social security code law, the government has also decided on extending ESIC services to all 740 districts of the country, for which labour ministry officials said they have tied up with hospitals empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat scheme and 3rdparty service providers.

The move is seen as an outreach to those displaced by the lockdown and blunt the criticism that the government did not take care of migrant and factory workers, who were the worst hit. Sources said that the documents will need to be submitted physically as the beneficiaries are not linked to Aadhaar.

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