Q: What is the object of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948' Which establishments come within the purview of the Act' What is the role of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation' If the employer refuses or fails to pay his share of contribution under the Act, what is the remedy' If there is a dispute between the employer and an employee as regards the employee's entitlement to certain benefits under the Act, what should the employee do' Please advise.
A: The ESI is a beneficial legislation. The object of the Act, briefly put, is to provide certain benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injury and to make provision for certain other matters in relation thereto. The Act applies to all factories including factories belonging to the government excepting seasonal factories. The word 'factory' is defined in Section 2 (12) of the Act and 'seasonal factory' is defined in Section 2 (19A). The Act shall not apply to a factory or an establishment belonging to or controlled by the government whose employees are otherwise in receipt of benefits substantially similar or superior to the benefits provided under the Act.
The ESI Corporation is a body corporate constituted under Section 3 of the Act for the administration of the scheme of Employees' State Insurance in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The contribution payable under the Act, both the employer's share and employee's share, shall be paid into a fund called the Employees State Insurance fund which shall be held and administered by the corporation.
The corporation may make regulations for any matter relating or incidental to the payment and collection of contributions payable under the Act. The Corporation may also appoint inspectors for the purpose of implementation of the provisions of the Act.
If an employer fails to pay his share of the contribution then the aggrieved employee(s) may lodge a complaint with the authorised officer (defined in Section 45 I of the Act), who may issue to the recovery officer, a certificate specifying the amount of arrears. The recovery officer shall then proceed to recover the certified amount from the defaulting employer inter alia by attachment and sale of the employer's movable or immovable properties or by other methods specified in Section 45 (C) of the Act.
If the employer disputes an employee's entitlement to any benefit under the Act, the employee should file an application before the Employees' Insurance Court (constituted under Section 74 of the Act) for adjudication of such dispute. An order of such court shall be enforceable as if it were a decree passed in a suit by a civil court.
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