Social Security Code 2019- A Blessing

Social Security Code 2019- A Blessing

Authors: Pushpendra Sharma,
Hemant Budania,
(RGNUL)Rajiv Gandhi National University Of Law

Social Security Code 2019 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha by Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar. The Bill encompasses to eight different Bills on various welfare measures, and seeks to provide social security to 50 crore workers. This is a noble goal, no doubt. However, the bill fails to appreciate that the provision of meaningful social security on such a large scale is beyond the capacity of any ministry at any level of any government, and to fundamentally rethink that social security, Different laws rather than a screw work.
The vision of universalizing social security is absolutely correct. Social Security is traditionally included in retirement, income and family benefits, illness and health benefits, maternity benefits, disability benefits, old age benefits, survivors benefits, unemployment benefits and employment guarantees, and employment benefits, in addition to social security. Housing and education are key pre-requisites of such protection, if not integral to it. All these cannot be reached by a single plan or any department or ministry, as large as the population of India. Nor can it be given from funds contributed by workers and their employers, whether in a provident fund or in a corporate social responsibility fund. The present government wants to provide healthcare to all and housing for all. These are to be funded by the treasury. These point to the overlap between welfare policies of the government and social security narrowly conceived.[1]
Therefore, it is necessary to rethink social security from top to bottom. It should be envisaged as a whole, with its various components entrusted to various arms and agencies of the government at all levels. Quality education that inspires people to learn throughout their lives and in this era of rapid technological obsolescence should also be a part of regular upgrading of skills. The government should not run the bill through Parliament, but subject it to detailed reconsideration.
Social Security Schemes: Under the Code, the Central Government can notify various social security schemes for the benefit of workers. These include an Employee Provident Fund (EPF) scheme, an Employee Pension Scheme (EPS) and an Employee Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme. They can provide a provident fund, a pension fund and an insurance scheme respectively. The government may also notify: (i) an Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme to provide sickness, maternity and other benefits, (ii) five years of employment (or in some cases less than five years) to employees Gratuity to workers on committing death), (iii) maternity benefit to women employees, (iv) cess for the welfare of building and construction workers, and (v) employees and those in case of occupational injury or illness Sector compensation to the dependents.
In addition, the central or state government may notify specific schemes for gig workers, stage workers and unorganized workers to provide various benefits, such as life and disability cover. Gig workers refer to workers outside the traditional employer-employee relationship (eg, freelancers). Platform workers are workers who access other organizations or individuals using online platforms and make money by providing them with specialized services. Unorganized workers include home-based and self-employed workers.
Coverage and registration: The code specifies different applicability limits for plans. For example, the EPF scheme would apply to establishments with 20 or more employees. The ESI scheme will be applicable to certain establishments having 10 or more employees and all those establishments which carry out hazardous or fatal work as notified by the Central Government. These thresholds can be revised by the central government. All eligible establishments are required to register under the code, unless they are already registered under another labour law.
Contribution: EPF, EPS, EDLI and ESI schemes will be financed through employer and employee contributions. For example, in the case of the EPF scheme, the employer and the employee will each contribute a matching 10% wage notified by the government, or such other rate. All contributions towards payment of gratuity, maternity benefit, cess for building workers and employee compensation will be borne by the employer. Plans for gig workers, platform workers, and unorganized workers can be financed through a combination of contributions from employers, employees and the appropriate government.
Social Security Organization: The Code provides for the establishment of several bodies to conduct social security schemes. These include: (i) EPF, EPS and EDLI schemes headed by the Central Provident Fund Commissioner, (ii) a Central Board of Trustees headed by the Chairman appointed by the Central Government to head an Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. National and State level Social Securi
ty Boards, ESI Scheme, headed by the Union and State Ministers for Labour and Employment, respectively, to conduct the schemes of unorganized workers, and (iv) state-level building workers welfare boards. ). Under the leadership of a chairman nominated by the state government to conduct schemes for building construction workers.
Inspection and Appeal: The appropriate government may appoint an inspector-cum-facilitator to inspect establishments covered by the code, and advise employers and employees on compliance with the code. Administrative officers can be appointed under various schemes to hear appeals under the Code. For example, the appropriate government may notify an appellate authority to hear an appeal against the order of the inspector-cum-facilitator for non-payment of maternity benefit. The Code also specifies the judicial bodies which can hear appeals from the order of the administrative authorities. For example, the Industrial Tribunal

[1] Ministry of Labour and Employment, Code on Social Security Bill, 2019 pdf, at https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/375_2019_LS_Eng_0.pdf.

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