A section of mobile manufacturers has approached the Labour Ministry to seek wage compensation under the insurance benefits of ESIC schemes.
According to a conservative estimate, mobile factories employ around 2 lakh people who get an average pay of Rs 10,000 per month, India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said.
The ICEA has written a letter to Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar requesting him to facilitate wage compensation under the sickness benefit.
An ESIC subscriber is entitled to many benefits, including that of sickness cash benefit which may be 70 per cent of average daily wages drawn by the employee for non-employment due to sickness.
Private sector employees with monthly salary of up to Rs 21,000 can subscribe to ESIC schemes.
“ESIC can compensate employees from the scheme as the work was not allowed to check the spread of the coronavirus disease. The payment liability on ESIC comes for about 50 days during the lockdown. We have requested the labour minister for facilitating the same in a smooth manner,” Mohindroo said.
At the end of financial year 2019, ESIC had approximately Rs 85,000 crore reserve fund and 70 per cent is not earmarked for any purpose, according to the ICEA.
The mobile handset makers industry body has also demanded free Covid-19 testing of employees or reimbursement of test fee who have subscribed to the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation schemes.
Mohindroo said that the government has mandated to test 5 per cent of employees in every establishmentfor coronavirus infection which should be done at ESIC-affiliated hospitals or the cost of test should be reimbursed to employees.
He said many members can spend the money but the cash flow has become very grim and government support is required to comply with covid-19 testing norms.
“This will greatly help the industry and this is also consistent with the objective of the insurance scheme for the workers covered under ESIC. This is also ethically correct for the Government of India and ESIC,” Mohindroo said in a letter to ESIC director general Anuradha Prasad.
ICEA members include mobile makers like Apple, Vivo, Oppo, Huawei, Foxconn, Wistron, Flex, Lava etc.
It noted that there was no production or sale for about two months to prevent of coronavirus infection and its members continued to pay the workers 100 per cent of their salary despite extreme cash flow problems.