Do no want ESI for our employees, say budget private schools

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) A nationwide association of small budget private schools criticised the latest Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme here on wednesday, saying that they do not stand to benefit from it and being forced to abide by directions.

SPREE (Scheme to Promote Registration of Employers and Employees), launched by the ESIC on December 20 last year, made it mandatory for all eligible entities, which include private schools as well, to be registered with the corporation and grant benefits accordingly to their employees.

The circular also stipulated that those schools which have not so far registered with the corporation will have to pay the amount due to them since 2008 — the year when an amendment was brought in the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act of 1950 to include private education institutes under its ambit.

The schools which did not register with ESIC then are now being asked to pay up the arrears for the duration between 2008 till now.

“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,” Kulbhushan Sharma, President, NISA, said in a statement.

He also said the penalties being charged to the already cash-strapped schools are unjust, which are in no position to pay the arrears retrospectively.

Another member of the association said the decision was taken by the central government without consulting the schools and they are left with no choice but to increase the fees to muster the cash.

NISA representatives have undertaken several meetings with the Labour and Employment Minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, regarding this issue in the past but with no solution has been worked out till date.