Labour ministry notifies draft rules under Code on Social Security; seeks suggestions in 45 days

With respect to cess payment, the interest rate for delayed payment has been brought down from 2 per cent every month or part of a month to 1 per cent.

In an effort towards bringing the workers from unorganized sectors along with gig and platform workers under the social security cover, the labour and employment ministry has notified the draft rules under the Code on Social Security, 2020. The ministry has sought objections and suggestions for the draft rules, notified on Friday, within 45 days, it said on Sunday. The rules, which provide for operationalization of provisions of the Code relating to EPF, ESIC, gratuity, maternity benefits, social security, and cess for such workers, have allowed self-registration on a government portal to avail these benefits. The ministry “has already initiated action for the development of such portal,” it added.

Further, it has also provided for Aadhaar-based registration of building and other construction workers on the specified portal of the central government and the state government or the state welfare board. The building workers would be entitled to the benefits in the state they are working in. According to the ministry, provision has also been made in the draft rules pertaining to the gratuity of a worker who is on fixed-term employment.

The draft rules have also provided for a single electronic registration and its cancellation for an establishment in case of its business closure. Moreover, the rules have also carried a provision with respect to manner and conditions for an establishment to exit EPFO and ESIC coverages. Further, for the self-assessment of building and other construction workers, the employer “shall calculate the cost of construction as per the rates specified by the State Public Works Department or Central Public Works Department or on the basis of return or documents submitted to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority,” the ministry added in a statement.

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With respect to cess payment, the interest rate for delayed payment has been brought down from 2 per cent every month or part of a month to 1 per cent. According to the current rules, the Assessing Officer (AO) has the authority to direct that no material or machinery can be removed or disturbed from the construction site. “Such power for indefinitely stopping of construction work has been withdrawn in the draft rules.” Also, the AO would have to get the approval of the Secretary of the Building and Other Construction Workers Board to visit the construction site. The draft rules by the ministry also provided for the manner of payment of contribution by the aggregators through self-assessment, it said.

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