The Employees Compensation (Amendment) Act, 2017 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2016. The central legislature received the assent of the President on April 12, 2017. The amendment is to the Employees Compensation Act, 1923. Earlier this Act is also known as The Workmen’s Compensation Act. The Employees Compensation Act, 1923 is an old but important enactment as it introduced social security to the employees of the country. The main object of this Act is to provide compensation to the employees for the injury caused to them by accident while in employment. In case of death, temporary disablement, fatal accidents, etc. His dependents are entitled to receive an amount as compensation for employment injury.
Further, this amendment 2017 provides more rights to employees and to safeguard their interest. By this amendment of 2017 new sections are inserted some are omitted.
Section 17 (A) implies that, Every employer at the time of the employment of an employee needs to inform an employee of his rights to compensation under the Act in writing as well as through electronic means, whether in Hindi or in English, or in the specific language which can be understood by the employee.
Section 16 implies that, If anybody fails to inform the employee about his rights then it will make the employer liable to a penalty. Penalties have been increased from a maximum of five thousand rupees to a definite penalty of fifty thousand rupees which may extend to one lakh rupees.
Section 30 (1) implies that The minimum amount involved in a dispute for which an appeal may be filed with the High Court has been increased from three hundred rupees to ten thousand rupees, or such higher amount as the Central Government may, by notification, specify.
Any dispute related to an employee’s compensation will be heard by a commissioner who will have the powers of a civil court. Appeals can be made against orders related to compensation, distribution of compensation, an award of penalty or interest, etc. only if the amount in dispute is at least three hundred rupees.
In a further amendment, to omit the Section 30 (A) of an old Act, the amended Act has scrapped the rule as per which the employer could temporarily withhold any payments towards the employee in case the former had appealed against a commissioner’s order. The Commissioner may do so only by an order of the High Court until the matter is disposed of by the Court.