Category Archives: labour law compliances

labour law returns – telangana

The Telangana Government has vide its notification extended the due dates for several labour law returns and forms by two months. The date of furnishing the returns is now fixed at 30th June, 2021.

Details of the forms/ returns thereby impacted is given below:

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extension of ESI scheme to Arunachal Pradesh

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1667020

n its continuous endeavor to cover more workers under ESI Scheme, Govt. of India has now extended the Employees’StateInsurance (ESI) Scheme for the first time to Arunachal Pradesh, with effect from 1st November, 2020. A notification to this effect has been issued by the Central Government for notifying the district of Papum Pare,under ESI Scheme.

All factories located in the district of Papum Pare of Arunachal Pradesh employing 10 or more persons shall become eligible for coverage under ESI Act 1948. The facility of online registration under ESI Scheme is available on the website www.esic.in and also on the “Shram Suvidha Portal” of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. No physical documents are required to be submitted for registration under ESI Act. The employees working in these factories, earning wages up to Rs. 21,000/- per month (Rs. 25 thousand per month for persons with disability) shall be eligible for coverage under the ESI Scheme.

The covered employees and their dependants shall become eligible for host of benefits including Cashless Medical Care Services, Sickness Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Employment Injury Benefit and Dependant Benefit in case of death due to employment injury, Unemployment Benefit etc. Arrangements for medical care are being made through a newly opened Dispensary Cum Branch Office (DCBO) at Itanagar.

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ESIC limit

Mahashtra Government has vide its notification dated 10th October, 2020 specified that Employees State Insurance Corporation will be applicable to all classes of establishments employing 10 or more persons. This notification comes into effect from 1st October, 2020. Accordingly those classes of establishments as stipulated who are employing 10 or more persons and not yet registered under the ESIC Act, are required to register on their portal. This public notice gives more details of the same.

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bulk transfer for exempted estbs of EPFO

Sh. Apurva Chandra, IAS, Secretary (Labour & Employment) launched a new facility of bulk transfer of funds and data from exempted trusts to EPFO through a single payment, during his first visit to EPFO headquarters, on 7th October, 2020. This will enhance ease of doing business by increasing the speed of funds transfer for exempted establishments.

EPFO has now released the functionality for bulk transfer of funds from exempted establishments to EPFO through a single payment. Exempted establishments are those establishments which have been granted exemption under Section 17 of EPF & MP Act, 1952 and manage the provident fund of members themselves under over all supervision of EPFO. On change of employment for a member from exempted to unexempted establishment, his past accumulations are transferred to EPFO.

Till now exempted establishments had to approve and transfer the funds one-by-one for each member. Larger establishments requiring to transfer the funds of many employees each day, found the process very cumbersome and time taking. Under the new facility, exempted establishments can bulk upload data and transfer the funds for large number of members, through a single payment. This initiative is expected to benefit around 1500 exempted establishments of EPFO.

All transaction between EPFO and exempted establishments have already been made electronic, thereby eliminating issues regarding delay and reconciliation of funds transferred. In case of member shifting job from unexempted to exempted establishment, EPFO electronically transfer the funds in the bank account of the exempted establishment and the details of the transaction is made available in the login of the establishment. This has enabled faster crediting of funds in the account of the member maintained by exempted establishment.

Further, exempted establishments have already been provided the facility to file their monthly returns and Electronic Challan-cum-Return (ECRs) for remittance of Pension Fund contribution electronically, thereby facilitating compliance in a hassle free manner.

Another initiative launched by Secretary (Labour & Employment) during his visit to EPFO headquater, will enabled its members to apply for obtaining Scheme Certificate under Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 through Umang App. Scheme Certificate is issued to members who withdraw their EPF contributions but wish to retain their membership with EPFO, to avail pension benefits on attainment of retirement age.

The ease of applying for Scheme Certificate through UMANG App will now help members to avoid unnecessary hardship of physically applying for it, especially during COVID-19 pandemic times.  The facility shall benefit over 5.89 crore subscribers.

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EPS certificate in umang app

https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1659774

The Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) has been a big hit among EPF subscribers enabling them to access services during COVID-19 pandemic from the comfort of their homes in a hassle free manner. Adding to the 16 services already on the Umang App, EPFO has now started another facility enablinng EPS members to apply for Scheme Certificate under Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995.

Scheme certificate is issued to members who withdraw their EPF contribution but wish to retain their membership with EPFO, to avail pension benefits on attainment of retirement age. A member becomes eligible for pension only if he has been, cumulately, a member of the Employees’ Pension Scheme,1995 for at least 10 years. Upon joining a new job, Scheme Certificate ensures that previous pensionable service is added to pensionable service rendered with the new employer thereby, increasing the amount of pension benefits. Further, Scheme Certificate is also useful for family members to avail family pension, in case of untimely death of the eligible member.

The ease of applying for Scheme Certificate through UMANG App will now help members avoid unnecessary hardship of physically applying for it, especially during pandemic times and will also eliminate unnecessary paperwork.  The facility shall benefit over 5.89 crore subscribers. For availing the service on Umang App, an active Universal Account Number (UAN) and a mobile number registered with the EPFO is required.

By successfully bringing state-of-the-art technology to the doorstep of its subscribers, EPFO has remained to be most popular service provider on UMANG App. Out of the 47.3 crore hits clocked by the app since August 2019, 41.6 crore or 88% of them were meant for EPFO services. With India witnessing massive growth in digital connectivity through mobile phones, EPFO is making more and more services digitally accessible to members even in remotest locations through UMANG App.

*About UMANG* :

UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is developed by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) to drive Mobile Governance in India.

UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian Citizens to access pan India e-Gov services ranging from Central to Local Government bodies and other citizen centric services.

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unemployment benefit

https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1655706

ESIC has issued instructions for submission of claims by the affected workers to claim relief under recently expanded Atal Beemit Kalyan Yojna in which relief is to be paid to to those ESI members who lost their job. Claims to get the relief can be made online at website http://www.esic.in along with submission of the physical claim with an affidavit, photocopy of Aadhaar Card and Bank Account details to the designated ESIC Branch Office by post or in person.

It may be stated that ESI Corporation under the Chairmanship of Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar,  Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment has taken the decision to extend the scheme of Atal Beemit Kalyan Yojana for another one year i.e. from 1st July, 2020 to 30th  June, 2021. It has also been decided to enhance the rate of unemployment relief under the scheme to 50% of wages from earlier rate of 25% along with relaxation of eligibility conditions for insured workers who have lost their employment due to COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown. Under the existing guidelines, claim for the unemployment benefit was required to be submitted through the employer. Shri Gangwar said that in a significant relaxation, claim can now be submitted directly to the designated ESIC Branch Office. The enhanced benefit and relaxed conditions are applicable during the period 24th March 2020 to 31st December 2020. A notification to this intent has been issued.

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.

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ESIC relief

PIB press release dated 21st August, 2020.

The ESI Corporation during its 182nd meeting held late yesterday under the Chairmanship of Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State for Labour and Employment (I/C) has taken some very important decisions towards improvement in its service delivery mechanism and providing relief to workers affected by Covid-19 pandemic. Following important decisions were taken during the meeting:

ESIC is implementing the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna under which unemployment benefit is paid to the workers covered under ESI Scheme. The ESI Corporation has decided to extend the scheme for one more year upto 30th June 2021. 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 24.03.2020 to 31st December 2020. Thereafter the scheme will be available with original eligibility condition during the period 01.01.2021 to 30.06.2021. Review of these conditions will be done after 31.12.2020 depending upon the need and demand for such relaxed condition.

The eligibility criteria for availing the relief has also been relaxed, as under:

a.The payment of relief has been enhanced to 50% of average of wages from earlier 25% of average wages payable upto maximum 90 days of unemployment.

b. Instead of the relief becoming payable 90 days after unemployment, it shall become due for payment after 30 days.

c. The Insured Person 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.

d. The Insured Person should have been insurable employment for a minimum period of 2 years before his/her unemployment and should have contributed for not les than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding to unemployment and minimum 78 days in one of the remaining 3 contribution periods in 02 years prior to unemployment.

With a view to strengthen ICU/HDU services in ESIC hospitals amid the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been decided to establish ICU/HDU services upto 10% of total commissioned beds in all ESIC Hospitals.

https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1647516

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EPF withdrawals

Employees Provident Fund Organisation has issued a notification dated 27th March, 2020 allowing a non refundable advance not exceeding three months basic wages & dearness allowance or upto 75% of the amount standing to the credit of the member, in view of the corona pandemic. Employees working in factories & establishments across India and member of EPF 1952 Scheme are eligible for the above benefits. The copy of the circular can be found here

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Payment of Gratuity Amendment Bill, 2017

PIB Press Release dated 12th September, 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament.

The Amendment will increase the maximum limit of gratuity of employees, in the private sector and in Public Sector Undertakings/ Autonomous Organizations under Government who are not covered under CCS (Pension) Rules, at par with Central Government employees.

Background:

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. The main purpose for enacting this Act is to provide social security to workmen after retirement, whether retirement is a result of the rules of superannuation, or physical disablement or impairment of vital part of the body. Therefore, the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is an important social security legislation to wage earning population in industries, factories and establishments.

The present upper ceiling on gratuity amount under the Act is Rs. 10 Lakh. The provisions for Central Government employees under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 with regard to gratuity are also similar. Before implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission, the ceiling under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 was Rs. 10 Lakh. However, with implementation of 7th Central Pay Commission, in case of Government servants, the ceiling now is Rs. 20 Lakhs effective from 1.1.2016.

Therefore, considering the inflation and wage increase even in case of employees engaged in private sector, the Government is of the view that the entitlement of gratuity should be revised for employees who are covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. Accordingly, the Government initiated the process for amendment to Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

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EPFO payouts in digital mode

The Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India has ensured that payouts from the Employee Provident Fund schemes in the form of EPF benefits, pension disbursement and insurance claims be made by electronic or digital fund transfer method to the beneficiaries. Suitable amendments have been to the relevant social security schemes

(http://www.epfindia.gov.in/site_docs/PDFs/Circulars/Y2017-2018/Manual_Notification_DBT_3004.pdf).

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Clarification on Maternity Act

The Government has notified the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act,2017 on 28th March,2017 and the provisions of the Amendment Act have come into force with effect from 1st April,2017, except those relating to crèche facility {Section 4(1)} which would come into force from 01.07.2017.

Keeping in view queries received from various quarters, the Ministry of Labour & Employment, on 12.04.2017, had issued certain clarifications on various provisions of Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017. One of the clarifications issued by the Ministry stated that the enhanced maternity benefit, as modified by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) bill, 2016 can be extended to women who are already under maternity leave at the time of enforcement of this Amendment Act.

Having received further queries and to remove doubts, it is further clarified that it is mandatory on the part of employers to extend the benefit of enhanced maternity leave to those women workers who were already on maternity leave on the date of enforcement of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act,2017 i.e. as on 01.04.2017.

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National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

PIB press release dated 1st September, 2016

Government has notified National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. It is for the first time a scheme has been notified to offer financial incentives to employers. The Scheme has an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore with a target of 50 Lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20.Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. The National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key components for creating skilled manpower in India. The policy proposes to work pro-actively with the industry including MSME to facilitate tenfold increase opportunities in the country by 2020.

25% of the prescribed stipend payable to an apprentice would be reimbursed to the employers directly by the Government of India. The scheme also supports basic training, which is an essential component of apprenticeship training by sharing of basic training cost with basic training providers in respect of apprentices who come directly to apprenticeship without any formal trade training (fresher apprentices).

Online portal for ease of administering. All transactions including registration by employers, apprentices, registration of contract and payment to employers will be made as online mode. Eligible employers shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5% to 10% of the total strength of the establishment. Employers need to register on the apprenticeship portal and must have TIN/TAN and any one of EPFO/ESIC/LIN. Employers are invited to register on the apprenticeship portal to avail benefits under the scheme.

Brand Ambassadors will be appointed for states and for local industrial clusters to act as facilitators and promoters to promote apprenticeship training.

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Factories Act, Amendment

PIB press release dated 10th August, 2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendment of Section 64 and section 65 and consequential amendment of section 115 of the Factories Act, 1948 by introducing the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Parliament.

The approved amendments will give boost to the manufacturing sector and facilitate ease of doing business with an aim to enhance employment opportunities.

These amendments relate to increase in overtime hours from the existing 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours (Section 64) and existing 75 hours per quarter to 125 hours (Section 65).

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Maternity Benefit Act, Amendment

PIB press release dated 10th August, 2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 by introducing the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.

The maternity benefit Act 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her of a ‘maternity benefit’ – i.e. full paid absence from work – to take care for her child. The act is applicable to all establishments employing 10 or more persons. The amendments will help 1.8 million (approx.) women workforce in organised sector.

The amendments to Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are as follows:

• Increase Maternity Benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two childern.

• 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to a ‘Commissioning mother’ and ‘Adopting mother’.

• Facilitate’Work from home’. • Mandatory provision of Creche in respect of establishment having 50 or more employees.

Justification:

• Maternal care to the Child during early childhood – crucial for growth and development of the child.

• The 44th, 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conference recommended enhancement of Maternity Benefits to 24 weeks.

• Ministry of Women & Child Development proposed to enhance Maternity Benefit to 8 months.

• In Tripartite consultations, all stake holders, in general supported the amendment proposal.

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Concessions to start-ups on labour laws

PIB press release dated 25th April, 2016

In order to promote the Start-Up ecosystem in the country and incentivizing the entrepreneurs in setting up new start-up ventures and thus catalyze the creation of employment opportunities through them, the Ministry of Labour & Employment has issued an advisory to the States/UTs/Central Labour Enforcement Agencies for a compliance regime based on self-certification and regulating the inspections under various Labour Laws.

It has been suggested that if such start-ups furnish self-declaration for compliance of nine labour laws for the first year from the date of starting the start-up, no inspection under these labour laws, wherever applicable, will take place. The nine labour laws, included in this advisory are:

the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;

• the Trade Unions Act, 1926;

• the Building and Other Constructions Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996;

• the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946;

• the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;

• the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972;

• the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;

• the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; and

• the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.

• From the second year onwards, up to 3 year from the setting up of the units, such start-ups are required to furnish self-certified returns and would be inspected only when credible and verifiable complaint of violation is filed in writing and approval has been obtained from the higher authorities.

The advisory to State Governments is not to exempt the Start-ups from the ambit of compliance of these Labour Laws but to provide an administrative mechanism to regulate inspection of the Start-Ups under these labour laws, so that Start-ups are encouraged to be self-disciplined and adhere to the rule of law. These measures intend to avoid harassment of the entrepreneurs by restricting the discretion and arbitrariness. Punitive action shall, however, be taken whenever there is a violation of these labour laws.

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