The Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday announced further extension for filing ESI contributions for the month of February till May 15.
The extension came as a big relief to over 3.49 crore employees and 12+ lakh employers enrolled under the insurance scheme of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
Earlier ESIC extended the due date for filing February and March contributions to April and May 15 respectively. However, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Tuesday announcement extending the nationwide lockdown till May 3, the labour ministry also extended the filing due dates without penalty and interest charges to establishments.
“Many establishments are temporarily closed and workers are unable to work due to the Covid-19 crisis,” the labour ministry said in a statement providing rationale for the extension.
“ESIC has taken steps for its stakeholders, specially employers and insured persons, besides strengthening its medical resources to fight Covid-19,” the statement added.
In order to ease hardship of ESI Beneficiaries, purchase of medicines by ESI beneficiaries from private chemists during the lockdown period and its subsequent reimbursement by ESIC has been permitted, the statement added.
The labour ministry’s statement also said,”Under the prevailing circumstances of lockdown, there may be cases where validity of the medical benefit cards issued to these beneficiaries expire as these beneficiaries are unable to deposit the advance annual lump-sum contribution due to lockdown. Such beneficiaries have been allowed to avail medical benefit under Rule 60 and 61 of ESI (Central Rules) till June 30.”
Permanent Disablement Benefit and Dependants’ Benefits payment of Rs.41 crore (approx.) have been sent to the bank accounts of beneficiaries in the month of March.