The government has decided to extend the deadline for filing contributions under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) for February till May 15, in the wake of the lockdown to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.
Officials said the government will also extend the ECR (electronic challan-cum-receipt) deadline for submission of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for March after receiving representations to extend the deadline from April 15 by 30-60 days.
A Labour Ministry statement said many establishments are temporarily closed and workers are unable to work due to the COVID-19 crisis. “In line with the relief measures being extended by the government to business entities and workers, ESIC has taken steps for its stakeholders, specially employers and insured persons, besides strengthening its medical resources to fight COVID-19.”
The period for filing ESI contributions for February and March was earlier extended to April 15 and May 15, respectively, which has now been further extended to May 15 for February, it further stated. The period for filing contribution for March is also May 15.
No penalty or interest will be levied on establishments during the extended period. Around 3.49 crore insured persons (IPs) and 12,11,174 employers are expected to make use of the extension of period for filing the return, it said.
Also, some other relief measures have been undertaken for IPs and beneficiaries. Purchase of medicines by ESI beneficiaries from private chemists during the lockdown period and its subsequent reimbursement by ESIC has been permitted, it added. A provision has also been made for providing medical services to IPs and beneficiaries from tie-up hospitals, if an ESIC hospital is declared as a dedicated COVID-19 facility.
Medical benefit is provided under Rule 60-61 to the IPs who cease to be in insurable employment on account of permanent disablement and to the retired IPs on payment of advance lump-sum contribution for a year at the rate of Rs 10 per month.
Under prevailing circumstances of lockdown, there may be cases where validity of medical benefit cards issued to these beneficiaries expire as they are unable to deposit the advance annual lump-sum contribution. Such beneficiaries have been allowed to avail medical benefit under Rule 60 and 61 of ESI (Central Rules) till June 30, the Ministry’s statement noted.
Payment of about Rs 41 crore in respect of permanent disablement benefit and dependants’ benefit has been transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries in the month of March, it further said.
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