The government will undertake labour reforms in a big way in the coming months and there will be no hurdles for them, Labour Secretary Heeralal Samariya said Wednesday. He also ruled out appropriating funds of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) for payment of wages to workers or to employers to meet their salary bill amid the lockdown to counter the pandemic.
On the concerns raised by some industry representatives about punitive action against them if their workers get COVID-19, Samariya said no criminality should be associated with this and assured them of taking up the matter at the highest level.
“ESIC (fund) is money of the insured persons and employers who are contributing (to this social security scheme). It already has a provision that if an employee is unemployed, then 25 per cent of wages can be paid … but diverting money (of the ESIC) to somebody else or paying the wages is not at all advisable because we want to reduce the contribution further so that it (ESI scheme) can run in better way in future,” he said during a webinar organised by industry chamber Ficci.
At present, an employer contributes 3.25 per cent and employee contributes 0.75 per cent of gross salary towards ESI.
About labour reforms, he said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour has given its report on the Code on Industrial Relations and it would soon submit a report on the Code on Social Security. The Centre has also collected data of migrant workers from states as well as districts. “We are working towards measures to give them employment as well as relief,” Samariya said.
He added that he will take up the stimulus for the private sector to meet wages, adding that dedicated transport for workers is a must and the economy needs to move as it is difficult to survive with zero income.
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