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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: The Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) relaxed norms to pay 50 per cent of average wages of three months as unemployment benefit between March 24 and December 31 this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As per a report published in All India Radio, the ESIC took the decision in its 182nd meeting held yesterday under the Chairmanship of Union Labour and Employment MinisterSantosh Kumar Gangwar. 

ESIC is implementing the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna under which unemployment benefit is paid to the workers covered under Employees' State Insurance (ESI) Scheme.

The ESIC has decided to extend the scheme for one more year upto 30th June next year. It has been decided to relax the existing conditions and the amount of relief for workers who have lost employment during the Covid-19 pandemic period. The enhanced relief under the relaxed conditions will be payable during the period of 24th March to 31st December this year.

Thereafter the scheme will be available with original eligibility condition during the period between 1st of January next year to 30th of June, next year. Review of these conditions will be done after 31st of December this year, depending upon the need and demand for such relaxed condition.

The eligibility criteria for availing the relief have also been relaxed. The payment of relief has been enhanced to 50 per cent of the average of wages from earlier 25 percent of average wages payable up to maximum 90 days of unemployment. Instead of the relief becoming payable 90 days after unemployment, it shall become due for payment after 30 days.

The Insured Person (IP) can submit the claim directly to ESIC Branch Office instead of the claim being forwarded by the last employer and the payment shall be made directly in the bank account of IP. The Insured Person should have been insurable employment for a minimum period of 2 years before his/her employment 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.

During the meeting, ESIC also took some important decisions towards improvement in its service delivery mechanism and providing relief to workers hit by the pandemic.

The decisions include establishment of ICU/HDU (Intensive care unit) services up to 10 percent of total commissioned beds in all ESIC Hospitals.

Around 60 members of the Corporation including employers’ representatives, employees’ representatives, professional experts and representatives of State Government participated in the meeting through video conference.

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