Social security is one of the key components of labour welfare. Labour welfare refers to all such services,amenities and facilities to the employees that improves their working conditions as well as standard of living. Social security benefits provided by an enterprise should protect not only their employees but also their family members through financial security including health care. Social security envisages that the employees shall be protected against all types of social risks that may cause undue hardships to them in fulfilling their basic needs.
In India, provision for social security to the workers occupies a very important place in the industrial set up. It is included in our Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy. It thus makes the ‘State’ bear the primary responsibility for developing an appropriate system for protecting and assisting its workforce. Hence, a Social Security Division has been set up under the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The division deals with framing of social security policy for the workers, administration of all the legislations relating to social security and implementation of the various social security schemes. Social Security to the workers is provided through the five Central Acts:- (i) The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948; (ii) Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; (iii) The Workmens’ Compensation Act; (iv)The Maternity Benefit Act;and (v) The Payment of Gratuity Act. In addition, there are a large number of welfare funds for certain specified segments of workers such as beedi workers, cine workers, construction workers etc.
The social security package broadly covers two categories of labour welfare measures:- (i) those relating to the medical facilities, compensation benefits and insurance coverage to the employees; (ii) those relating to the provident fund and gratuity provisions. It thus consists of all types of preventive, promotional and protective measures for labour welfare.