Budget private schools criticise inclusion in ESI

The move to subscribe to the Scheme to Promote Registration of Employees/ Employers (SPREE) has created problems for cash-strapped schools, said NISA

GN Bureau | January 18, 2017

#NISA   #budget private schools   #Scheme to Promote Registration of Employees/ Employers   #ministry of labour  

National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) has criticised the move of the Ministry of Labour and Employment to amend Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act of 1950 to include private educational institutions under its ambit.
NISA, which is a group of budget private schools, said that the move pressing schools to subscribe to the Scheme to Promote Registration of Employees/ Employers (SPREE) has brought the schools in a flux to increase their fees in order to adhere to the government’s stringent norms and pay up the aggregated arrears.
NISA president Kulbhushan Sharma said, “The ESI Act, since its inception, was provisioned for labourers working in hazardous industries. The recent announcement considers teachers as labourers and makes it mandatory for the schools. There is no logical reason that schools and teachers be included in this provision as we are not engaging in any hazardous activities that we would require ESI protection.”
“These social welfare legislations are meant to ensure better standard of health and welfare of employees but the heavy penalties being charged are an enormous burden on the already cash strapped budget private schools. The schools are in no position to pay the arrears retrospectively,” added Sharma.
NISA demanded that the budget private schools enrolled in this scheme before 2016 should be exempted from paying the aggregated arrears and the new schools enrolling from present year make payments from this progressive date.
Amit Chandra, policy advisor, NISA said, “ESIC does not have adequate number of hospitals in its network and adequate facilities to cater to the need. Bearing these facts in mind, the government should give a choice to the employees to choose a healthcare option including the health insurance scheme launched by prime minister Narendra Modi and it should not come as a forced decision like ESIC. If further forced to comply with the ESI Act, it would lead to increase in school fees and an added burden to parents.”




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