ESI stands for Employee State Insurance, a social security scheme under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. It is a fully-funded health insurance program that provides medical and cash benefits to employees and their families in case of sickness, injury or disablement.
ESI is mandatory for all employers who come under the purview of the Employee State Insurance Act, 1948, and have 10 or more employees. The employees whose gross salary is less than or equal to Rs. 21,000 per month also come under the ESI cover. The employer contributes 4.75% of the total salary, while the employee contributes 1.75% towards the ESI scheme.
ESI covers hospitalization expenses, medical expenses, and maternity leave benefits for the employees and their families. In case of hospitalization, both the medical expenses and the cash benefits are provided. The medical expenses include the cost of medicines, surgery, consultation fees, and diagnostic procedures. The cash benefits, on the other hand, are paid to the employees for the period of their hospitalization, which includes a fixed rate of sickness benefit and dependent benefit for their family members.
Apart from hospitalization, ESI also provides sickness benefits for up to 91 days, dependent benefits for the spouse and children, maternity benefits for up to 26 weeks, and disability benefits for temporary and permanent disabilities.
In summary, ESI is an important scheme that provides health insurance and cash benefits to employees and their families. It is a social security scheme that helps to ensure the well-being of the employees and their dependents in case of illness, injury or disablement.