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Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) is governed by the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. It is a self-financed social security scheme designed to protect employees covered under the ESI act. Employees of an eligible organisation are protected against financial distress arising out of sickness, disablement and death due to employment injury.
Applicability of the ESI scheme
According to the ESI Act 1948, the scheme applies to all factories and other establishments where the employee strength is 10 or more. The scheme covers both organised and unorganised sectors.
The same rules apply to a non-seasonal factory where the employee count is 10 or more. Furthermore, the applicability of this scheme has been extended to shops, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, newspaper establishments, cinemas and private medical institutions since 2001.
However, the employee strength required for ESI registration for factories is 10 for PAN India. For establishments, this threshold is 10 or 20 depending on the state.
|Minimum number of employees required for registration of establishment|
|Sl. no||State||Minimum employees to be registered|
|2||Jammu & Kashmir||20|
|32||Daman and Diu||20|
|33||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||20|
|34||Andaman and Nicobar||20|
Suggested Read: Everything a Business Needs to Know About the EPF Scheme
ESI eligibility to the employees
Employees with monthly wages of Rs 21,000 or less are covered under the ESI Act. This wage limit of Rs 21,000 was increased from Rs 15,000 in December 2016.
Benefits covered under ESI scheme
The scheme provides medical, cash, maternity, disability and dependent benefits to the insured employees. The contributions made by employers and employees fund these benefits.
A registered employee is entitled to full medical care during the period of their incapacity and their restoration to health and working capacity. The scheme provides financial aid to compensate for the loss of wages during the period of employee’s absenteeism from work due to sickness, injury due to employment, pregnancy and during hospitalisation in any ESI hospital.
The income limit for availing medical benefit under the ESI scheme by the dependent parents of an insured person has been enhanced to Rs 9,000 per month from Rs 5,000 in February 2019.
Registration process for employers
Any employer falling into the eligible category can get its factory or establishment registered under ESI through ESIC website. Earlier ESI registration was a manual process, and a lot of documentation was required. However, with the government’s initiative for ease of conducting business, a new online process has been introduced.
Refer this step-by-step guide to registering your factory or establishment under ESI.
ESI contribution rates
The ESI contribution payable to the ESI corporation comprises employer’s and employee’s contribution at specified rates. These rates are subject to revision from time to time.
Currently, the employer’s contribution is 3.25% of the wages, and that of employees is 0.75% of the wages payable or paid in every wage period. Usually, the wage period is a month. Such rates came into effect from the 1st of July 2019.
Employees earning up to Rs 176 on a daily average basis are exempted from payment of their contribution. But, the employer has to contribute their share for such employees.
ESI payment and return filing due date
An employer should pay their contribution and the employees’ contribution on a monthly basis to the ESIC. The due date for paying ESI contributions is 15th of the following month.
Further, an employer needs to file ESI return on a half-yearly basis. Here are the due dates for filing half-yearly ESI returns:
|Period of return||Due date of filing returns|
|April to September||11th November|
|October to March||11th May|
However, these due dates can be extended or changed through an official notification by the ESIC department.
For instance, due dates of ESI contributions for the month of February 2020 & March 2020 were extended to the 15th of May 2020. Also, the due date to file ESI return for Oct’19 to Mar’20 was extended to 11th of June 2020 from 11th of May 2020.
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Penalty for non-payment or late payment of contributions
Simple interest of 12% per annum for each day of delay in payment will apply to every employer who fails to pay the ESI contributions on time.
Also, non-payments, delayed or false payments under the ESI Act may attract imprisonment for a period extending up to 2 years and fine up to Rs 5,000.
Further, the income tax act also disallows ESI contributions deposited after the due date. The employers shall not get the deduction benefit of such contributions and will end up paying income on it.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the full form of ESI?
ESI stands for Employee State Insurance. This scheme is governed by the Employees State Insurance Act 1948.
- Is ESI mandatory?
ESI contribution is mandatory for employees earning Rs 21,000 or less monthly. Prior to December 2016, the wage limit was Rs 15,000 or less.
- How does the ESI scheme work?
Employers and employees contribute predetermined rates to this insurance scheme. The employer’s contribution is 3.25% of the wages, and that of employees is 0.75% of the wages payable or paid in every wage period.
- What are the benefits of ESI?
This scheme provides full medical care to registered employees during the period of incapacity, restoration of his health and working capacity.