- Legislative Reforms:
- The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed by the Parliament in the Winter Session has been published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary on 1st January, 2016 as Act No. 6 of 2016 to come into force on the 1st day of April, 2014.
The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015 envisages enhancement of eligibility limit under section 2(13) from Rs.10,000/- per month to Rs.21,000/- per month and Calculation Ceiling under section 12 from Rs. 3500 to Rs.7000 or the minimum wage for the scheduled employment, as fixed by the appropriate Government, whichever is higher. The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015 also mandates previous publication of draft subordinate legislations, framed under the enabling provisions under the said Act, in the Official Gazette for inviting objections and suggestions before their final notification.
- The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016passed by Rajya Sabha on 11th August,2016 which inter–alia include increasing maternity benefit to woman covered under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 from 12 weeks to 26 weeks up to two surviving children allowing the mother to take care of the child during his/her most formative stage, providing maternity benefit of 12 weeks to Commissioning mother (in case of surrogate child) and Adopting mother (in case of adoption), facilitate “work from home” to a mother with mutual consent of the employee and the employer, making mandatory in respect of establishment having fifty or more employees , to have the facility of crèche either individually or as a shared common facility within such distance as may be prescribed by rules & also to allow four visits to the crèche by the woman daily, including the interval for rest allowed to her and every establishment to intimate in writing and electronically to every woman at the time of her initial appointment about the benefits available under the Act.
- The Employees’ Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th August, 2016 to modify the provisions of Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 to rationalize the penalties and strengthen the rights of the worker under the Act.
- The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016, passed by the Parliament on 26th July, 2016. This Amendment Bill clearly stipulates total and complete prohibition on employment of children below 14 years and proposed more stringent punishments for violations. Amendment bill seeks to ensure the Right of Children to schooling and learning. However, children are allowed to help in their family enterprises only in non-hazardous occupations and that too only after school hours or during vacations. Amendment also prohibits Adolescents in the age group of 14-18 years of their employment in hazardous occupations and permits their engagement in only certain occupations to be specified in due course.
- Cabinet in its meeting held on 29th June, 2016 considered the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016.The Model Bill is a suggestive piece of legislation and has been finalized keeping in view the spirit of cooperative federalism. This gives liberty to States for fine tuning the Model bill to suit their requirement. This Model Bill applies to shops and establishments employing ten or more workers except manufacturing units. This Model bill gives freedom to operate 365 days in a year and opening/closing time of establishment, women to be permitted during night shift, if the provision of shelter, rest room, ladies toilets, adequate protection of their dignity and transportation etc., exists.
- The 2ndNational Commission on Labour had recommended codification of Labour Laws in to 4-5 Groups on functional basis. At present, Ministry of Labour & Employment is working to rationalize the provisions of the 43 Labour Laws in 4 Labour Codes viz.
- Labour Code on Wages -.
- Labour Code on Industrial Relations –
- Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare -.
- Labour Code on Safety &Working Conditions –
- Administrative Initiatives / Decisions:
- The government has announced more than 42% increase in the minimum wages for all sectors in the central sphere. For the first time minimum wages for all sectors; agricultural, non-Agricultural, Construction etc. have been increased simultaneously. Minimum wage (per day) for non-agricultural worker in the ‘C’ area category increased form Rs. 246/- to Rs 350/-,Rs 437/- in ‘B’ area category and Rs. 523/- in ‘A’ area category.
- ESI coverage on Wage ceiling has been increased from Rs.15000/- to Rs.21,000/-.
- Minimum pension under EPS has been revised to Rs.1000/- in perpetuity per month in April 2015.
- Bonus ceiling has been enhanced from Rs.3500/- to Rs.7000/- and the eligibility limit has been raised from Rs.10000/- to Rs.21000/-
- EDLI Benefit increased from 3.6 Lakh (max) to 6.0 Lakh(max)
- Time limit reduced to 20 days from 30 days for EPF claim settlements.
- Optional Deferment of age for drawing Pension from 58 year to 60 year with 4% per year incentive.
- Revised scheme for the rehabilitation of Bonded Labour with the quantum of financial assistance increased from the symbolic level of Rs 20 thousand to an amount of Rs 3 lakhs. While the most deprived and marginalized like the disabled, female and children rescued from trafficking, sexual exploitation and transgender will get Rs 3 lakhs, the next in order is the special category comprising of females and the minors who will now get Rs 2 lakhs. A normal adult male bonded labour will get Rs. 1 lakh.
- Extending coverage of ESI Scheme for extending its social security net to the whole country.
- The Government has issued coverage Notifications covering 165 districts in whole where the ESI Scheme was earlier implemented in part.
- Decision taken to enhance the maternity benefits under ESIC from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Adopting and commissioning mothers also to get maternity benefits. Intention notification sent for legal vetting.
- It is decided to reduce the employees’ and employers contribution under ESI Act from existing 1.75 and 4.75% to 1% and 3%, respectively for two years in new implemented areas of districts where ESI scheme is partly implemented. Intention notification published on 25.7.2016
- ESI Coverage has been extended to Construction workers in the implemented area. Construction site Workers have been covered to avail benefits under the ESI Scheme w.e.f. 1stAugust, 2015.
III. Extending the social security benefits of ESI Scheme in the remaining North-East States Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman & Nicobar Island. It has been implemented in Mizoram w.e.f. 1.12.2015 and in Port Blair w.e.f. 01.01.2016.
- Governance Reforms through Technology
- Ease of compliance & better enforcement of Labour Laws
Shram Suvidha Portal in the Central Sphere
A unified Web Portal ‘Shram Suvidha Portal’ launched on 16.10.2014 to bring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws and ease complexity of compliance. Main features of this portal included
- Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) is allotted to Units. 13.19 Lakh LIN allotted as on 09.09.2016.
- Filing of self-certified and simplified Single Online Common Annual Return by the establishments. Units will only file a single consolidated Return online instead of filing separate Returns under 9 Labour Acts.
- Transparent Labour Inspection Scheme through computerized system Total 2,37,579 inspections have been assigned and out of that 2,20,945 inspections have been uploaded as on 09.09.2016.
- Establishment can now submit monthly contribution return for ESIC and EPFO using this portal
- Multilingual Shram Suvidha Portal-with options in 11 languages.
Recent initiatives on Shram Suvidha Portal.
- Common Electronic Challan Cum Return (ECR) facility for EPFO and ESIC.
- Common Registration under 5 Central Labour Acts, by integration with DIPP’s E-Biz Portal.
- Facility of return submission under Mines Act for DGMS, on Shram Suvidha Portal.
- Better Delivery of Service:
Employees Provident Fund Organisation
- Universal Account Number (UAN) :
- Universal Account Number (UAN) programme launched on 16th October 2014 is designed to act as an umbrella for the multiple Member IDs allotted to same individual.
- As on 31.08.2016, EPFO has allotted around 8.11 crore UAN to its members and around 2.82 crore of these members have activated using their Mobile number and enjoying various related services.
- Online Registration of Establishments (OLRE):
- As part of the commitment of Government to ease of doing business, on 30th June 2014, EPFO launched the facility for the establishments to apply online for allotment of PF Code Number.
- Employers now apply online PF code number and upload the digitally signed documents at the time of application itself (from December 2015) and obtain on the spot code number immediately.
- As on 31.08.2016, around 1.36 Lakhs establishments have already obtained online registration on OLRE portal till date.
- Online Facilities to Members:
- In September 2015, EPFO moved from e-governance to m-governance and launched a mobile application. So far over 11.08 lakhs members have downloaded the Mobile App.
- Through Missed Call service at 01122901406, at no cost to the member, member is provided with all the envisaged details.
- As on 09.09.2016, around 3.12 crores missed calls have been received since 16th September 2015.
- The members who have activated their UAN receives regular SMS regarding their deposit of monthly PF contribution in their account. A SMS message is also being sent to employers that they have not deposited the monthly contribution or non-deposit of returns.
- Exempted Establishments Brought on E-Portal
- The exempted establishments are a big part of the EPFO compliance system and managing huge funds to the tune of approximately 3 lacs crores.
- EPFO launched the facility of online submission of monthly return of contributions, investments and other activities.
- Inoperative Accounts Helpdesk:
- An online help desk created to assist the members in tracing their inoperative accounts and withdrawing or merging them with the present account (UAN) has helped in 65 thousand cases so far.
- Updating of Accounts:
- A new mechanism to credit the interest in members’ accounts has been developed for auto-updating of members’ accounts at the end of the financial year, updating with interest, more than 15 crore accounts.
- Facilities to International Workers:
- To ensure social security not only to persons working within India but also to those coming to India and going abroad, a facility was launched for the international workers for online fillable form seeking certificate of coverage (COC).
- Global Network Operations Centre (g-NOC):
- EPFO has started its Network Operation Centre at National Data Centre monitoring the IT functioning of the EPFO. It shall be nodal point for handling troubleshooting as well as detecting and preventing all external threats.
- Compliance Analysis & Monitoring System of EPFO:
- This software was launched o 16.02.2016
- Principal employers, registered with EPFO & Government Department which are not registered with EPFO will upload details of contract awarded with due details – which will be available to EPFO for checking.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
- Members can find EPFO on the social networking platform at www.facebook.com/socialepfo and www.twitter.com/socialepfo.
Employees State Insurance Corporation:
ESI Scheme – The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation- ESIC (Ministry of Labour & Employment) is a social security organisation that provides comprehensive medical care and cash benefits in the contingencies of Sickness, Maternity, Disablement, death due to employment injury and Unemployment to beneficiaries i.e the organized sector working class in the lower wage bracket of the society. The total number of Insured Persons covered (as on 31.03.2015) are 2.03 crore and number of beneficiaries (as on 31.03.2015) 7.89 crore .
- ESIC Medical College, Coimbatore has been handed over to the State Government of Tamil Nadu on 02.02.2016.
- ESIC has now resolved to adopt two Model Hospitals, in each State.
iii Providing appropriate cancer detection/treatment facilities, cardiology treatment facilities, dialysis facilities on PPP Model at different levels of hospitals.
iv.For facilitating the practice of telemedicine, the RFP for pilot run has already been floated and the project is expected to go live in the next three months.
- Special focus has been paid for up gradation of Dispensaries, 24 Dispensaries in ESIC buildings have been identified for up- gradation to 30 bedded set up to provide 24×7 services.
- Pathological & X-ray facilities will be provided on PPP modelin all the dispensaries in phases. Pathological services in all dispensaries of Delhi has been started from 30th November, 2015. Laboratory and ECG Services has been started in ESI Dispensary of Delhi/Noida area.
vii.Mother and Child Care Hospital in every State: ESIC has constituted a committee to prepare the norms for setting up a Mother and Child Care Hospital in every State.
- AYUSH:Besides Allopathic treatment, ESIC hospitals also provide treatment under AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).
Transforming Public Employment Services
Activities and achievements of DGE for the year 2016
- National Career Service (NCS) –Public Employment Service Platform
The Ministry is implementing the National Career Service (NCS) Project as a vibrant platform for transforming and strengthening the public employment services in the country. The NCS Portal (www.ncs.gov.in) brings together job seekers, employers and other stakeholders on a common platform using information technology to provide a variety of employment related services like job matching, career counselling and information on skill development courses, apprenticeships, etc. It has rich repository of career content on over 3600 occupations across 52 sectors. Over 3.71 crore candidates, 14.8 lakh establishments are registered on the NCS Portal and it has mobilised over 3.25 lakh vacancies. To enhance the reach and enrich the employment opportunities available to youth, strategic MOUs have been signed with leading job portals, placement organisations and institutions of repute. Government of India has recently made it mandatory for government vacancies to be posted on the NCS Portal. The NCS project also involves setting up of 100 Model Career Centres to deliver quality employment services and these centres are being set up in collaboration with States and Institutions. All the employment exchanges are being linked up with the NCS Portal and job fairs are being organised on a regular basis.
- Enhancing Employability of the workforce
DGE runs 24 National Career Service Centres for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSC SC/STs) for providing vocational guidance and counselling services and also training in computer courses. In the last 2 years, around 3.8 lakh SC/ST candidates were provided vocational guidance and counselling, 33 thousand candidates pursued secretarial practices (shorthand/typing) for enhancing employability, 4,300 candidates pursed the special coaching scheme course and 7,800 candidates pursued the computer courses. The 24 (NCSC SC/STs) have been integrated with the NCS Project.
In addition, 21 National Career Service Centres for Differently Abled (NCSCDA) provide training and guidance. In the last 2 years, around 69 thousand persons with disabilities were helped and around 24 thousand were rehabilitate with various organisations.
- Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY)scheme
The Ministry is implementing the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojanaa (PMRPY) scheme to incentivize employers registered with the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for new employment. Under the Scheme, Government will be paying the 8.33% EPS contribution for these new employment for a period of 3 years. For the textile (garmenting) sector, Government will also pay the 3.67% EPF contribution of employers for these new employees.
- Opening Bank Accounts for Cashless transaction of wages.
The huge efforts of Labour and Employment Ministry have succeeded in bringing over thirty lakhs forty thousand workers into banking fold within one month of launching a campaign on 26th November for ensuring cashless transaction of wages. It may be noted that already 25.68 crore Jandhan Accounts are existing and all the left over workers are being covered. Till last evening (26 December, 2016) , 38,40, 863 (thirty eight lakh forty thousand eight hundred and sixty three) bank accounts were opened by organizing 1,08,179 (one lakh eight thousand one hundred and seventy nine) camps for this purpose.