Employees' State Insurance Corporation has notified the Covid-19 Relief Scheme

The Employees' State Insurance Corporation ("ESIC") vide a notification dated June 03, 2021, has notified the ESIC Covid-19 Relief Scheme ("Relief Scheme"). The Relief Scheme is a welfare measure which has been formulated to financially support the families of the insured persons (as defined under the ESI statute) who have succumbed to Covid-19 infection. The Relief Scheme would be valid for a period of 2 years with effect from March 24, 2020.

Under the Relief Scheme, dependents of the insured person will be entitled to periodic payments subject to: (a)the insured person being registered on the ESIC online portal at least 3 months prior to the date of Covid-19 diagnosis which resulted in his/her death; and (b) the deceased insured person must have been in employment on the date of such diagnosis and contributions for at least 70 days should have been paid or payable by him/ her during a period of 1 year immediately preceding the date of such diagnosis, which resulted in his/her death. The dependents of the insured person will be entitled to 90% of the average daily wages of the deceased insured person, with the minimum relief being INR 1800 per month.

Advisory to all State Governments and Union Territories to encourage WFH for nursing mothers

The Central Government on June 01, 2021, issued an advisory to all State Governments and Union Territories to encourage employers to implement work-from-home for its employees who are nursing mothers (wherever the nature of work allows them to do so) for a period of at least 1 year from the date of the birth of her child. The aforesaid advisory has been issued to protect nursing mothers and their infants from Covid-19 and to ensure that such nursing mothers continue to remain in employment.

Given that the State Governments are designated as the appropriate government for the implementation of maternity benefit, the Central Government has requested and encouraged the State Governments to implement and create awareness about this measure.

Mandatory seeding of Aadhaar Number for filing of Electronic Challan cum Return

The Employees' Provident Fund Organization ("EPFO"), vide a circular dated June 01, 2021, has made seeding of Aadhar numbers mandatory for filing Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR). (ECR is an electronic monthly return containing member wise details of wages and contribution, including basic details of members that needs to be uploaded by the employer on the EPFO's unified portal). Employers will be allowed to file the ECR only for Universal Account Number(s) (UAN) that are seeded and verified with Aadhar numbers with effect from June 01, 2021. The aforesaid circular was issued pursuant to the notification issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment dated April 30, 2021, notifying Section 142 of the Code on Social Security, 2020 ("Social Security Code"). Further, the EPFO vide a circular dated June 15, 2021, has extended the time period for mandatory seeding and verifying Aadhar Numbers with UAN for filing ECR till September 01, 2021.

EPFO members can now avail a second Covid-19 advance

The EPFO vide a press release dated May 31, 2021, permitted its members to avail a second non-refundable Covid-19 advance to combat the second wave of Covid-19. The provisions with respect to this special withdrawal was introduced in March 2020 under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Members are now allowed to apply for an advance to the extent of their basic wages and dearness allowance for 3 months, or up to 75% of the amount standing to the member's credit in their provident fund account, whichever is lesser. Additionally, members who have already availed the first Covid-19 advance can now opt for a second advance as well.

Aadhaar registration for employees seeking to avail benefits under the Unorganised Worker Identification Number Card Scheme in Gujarat

The Government of Gujarat, vide a notification dated June 03, 2021, has directed individuals eligible for availing benefits under the Unorganised Worker Identification Number Card (UWIN) Scheme to furnish Aadhaar details, or undergo Aadhaar verification. The UWIN Scheme intends to provide services and financial assistance to the unorganized workers by providing subsidised meals and financial aids to the family members of the unorganized workers upon their accidental death. Under the UWIN Scheme, the unorganised workers are also given permanent or partial disablement assistance.

Delhi shops and establishment portal has now been integrated with SPICEe+ portal

The Government of Delhi, vide an order dated May 28, 2021, has integrated the registration portal under the Delhi Shops & Establishments Act, 1954 ("Delhi S&E Act") with the SPICe+' portal maintained by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Consequently, any new company intending to register under the Companies Act, 2013 and undertaking first time registration under the Delhi S&E Act will now be required to register only on the 'SPICe+' portal. The single window clearance is another initiative of the Government of Delhi to facilitate the ease of doing business for different organizations.

Government of Delhi waives off annual contributions, late fees and penalties under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996

The Government of Delhi vide an order dated June 09, 2021, has waived off the annual contribution, late fees, or any penalty payable (for registration and any renewal of construction workers) under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 for 3 months.

Labour law compliances for establishments in Delhi have now been simplified

The Government of Delhi, vide an order dated July 05, 2021, has introduced online and time bound services to facilitate establishments in Delhi to comply with applicable labour laws pertaining to registration, licensing, obtaining approvals and certificates. As per the order, an employer can now maintain online statutory records and registers. The emphasis is on simplification, rationalization and introduction of information technology to better implement/comply with various statutory obligations.

Government of Karnataka has increased the daily working hours for employees

The Government of Karnataka vide a notification dated July 20, 2021, has amended Section 12 of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961, thereby increasing the daily working hours of employees working in establishments in Karnataka from 8 hours a day to 9 hours a day. The notification was issued in the backdrop of previous notifications that permitted all shops and commercial establishments in Karnataka employing 10 or more persons to be open for 24 hours on all days of the year subject to employees working for not more than 8 hours daily.

Tax exemption for expenditure on Covid-19 treatment and ex-gratia received on Covid-19 related death

The Indian Ministry of Finance, vide a press release dated June 25, 2021, has provided income tax exemption to the amount received by a tax payer from her/his employer or from any other person for incurring medical expenditures for treating Covid-19 infection, during FY 2019 -2020 and subsequent years. Further, income tax exemption has also been announced for any ex-gratia payment that family members of the deceased person(s) have received from the employer(s) or any other person during FY 2019- 2021 and subsequent years. This exemption will be for any amount received from the employer and the exemption will be limited to INR 10,00,000 in aggregate for the amount received from any other person(s).

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