The Employee State Insurance Act,1948, is a piece of social welfare legislation enacted primarily with the object of providing certain benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injury and also to make provision for certain others matters incidental thereto. The Act in fact tries to attain the goal of socio-economic justice enshrined in the Directive principles of state policy under part 4 of our constitution, in particular, articles 41, 42 and 43 which enjoin the state to make effective provision for securing, the right to work, to education and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement. The act strives to materialize these avowed objects through only to a limited extent. This act becomes a wider spectrum than factory act, in the sense that the factory act is concerned with the health, safety, welfare, leave etc of the workers employed in the factory premises only. But the benefits of this act extend to employees whether working inside the factory or establishment or elsewhere or they are directly employed by the principal employee or through an intermediate agency, if the employment is incidental or in connection with the factory or establishment.
The Employee State Insurance act was promulgated by the Parliament of India in the year 1948. To begin with the ESIC scheme was initially launched on 2nd February 1952 at just two industrial centers in the country namely Kanpur and Delhi with a total coverage of about 1.20 lakh workers. There after the scheme was implemented in a phased manner across the country with the active involvement of the state governments.
The ESI Act is a social welfare legislation enacted with the object of providing certain benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injury. The insured employees and their dependants are entitled to the following benefits:
* Medical benefit
Full medical facilities for self and dependants are admissible from day one of joining insurable employment. Whereas, the primary, out patient, in patient and specialist services are provided through a network of panel clinics, ESI dispensaries and hospitals, super specialty services are provided through a large number of advanced empanelled medical institutions on referral basis.
* Sickness benefit [cash]
Sickness benefit is payable to an insured person in cash, in the event of sickness resulting in absence from work and duly certified by an authorised insurable medical officer/ practitioner.
* Extended sickness benefit [cash]
Extended sickness benefit is payable to insured persons for the period of certified sickness in case of the 34 long-term diseases specified in the Act which need prolonged treatment and absence from work on medical advice.
* Enhanced sickness benefit [cash]
This cash benefit is payable to insured persons in the productive age group for under going sterilisation operation, viz., vasectomy/ tubectomy. * Maternity benefit [cash]
Maternity benefit is payable to insured women in case of confinement or miscarriage or sickness related thereto.
* Disablement benefit [cash]
Disablement benefit is payable to insured employees suffering from physical disablement due to employment injury or occupation disease.
* Dependents benefits [cash]
Dependents benefit [family pension] is payable to dependents of a deceased insured person where death occurs due to employment or occupational disease.
* Other benefits
* Funeral expenses - On the death of an insured person subject to a maximum of a Rs.2,500 payable at the local office. * Vocational rehabilitation - In case of disabled insured persons under 45 years of age with 40% or more disablement. * Free supply of physical aids and appliances such as...