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Benefits and Entitlements Overview

Learn about mandatory and optional employee benefits in India

Mandatory benefits

In India, employees are entitled to a range of mandatory benefits mandated by the government. These benefits contribute to social security, healthcare, retirement savings, and financial security in various life situations.

Provident Fund and Pension Schemes

Employees in India have access to the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), a savings scheme where both employer and employee contribute 12% of the employee's basic salary. This scheme provides a lump sum payout at retirement or upon leaving the job.

The Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS) is a pension scheme funded by a portion of the employer's contribution to EPF (8.33%). This scheme provides a monthly pension upon retirement.

Employees' Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) is an insurance scheme that provides financial assistance to the family in case of the employee's death while in service.

Employees' State Insurance (ESI)

The Employees' State Insurance (ESI) is a social security scheme that provides medical care and financial benefits to employees earning up to ₹21,000 per month. This scheme covers medical expenses for the employee and their dependents for hospitalization, medication, and outpatient care. During sickness, employees receive a percentage of their salary as cash allowance.


Gratuity is a lump-sum payment made to an employee upon retirement, resignation after five years of service, or death while in service. The amount is calculated based on the employee's last drawn salary, tenure, and reason for leaving.

Maternity Leave

Women working in establishments with at least 10 employees are entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks. During this leave, they receive a percentage of their salary from their employer.

Optional benefits

In India, employers often offer a variety of optional benefits to attract and retain talent, boost employee morale, and create a positive work environment.

Financial Benefits

  • Health Insurance: Group health insurance plans covering hospitalization, medical expenses, and wellness programs are increasingly popular.
  • Life Insurance: Employers may offer group life insurance plans to provide financial protection to employees' families in case of death.
  • Retirement Savings Plans: Some companies provide additional retirement saving options beyond the mandatory EPF, encouraging long-term financial security.

Leave and Wellness Benefits

  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Many companies offer paid time off beyond the mandated leaves, allowing for vacations, sick leave, and personal days. Some may even offer unlimited PTO policies.
  • Parental Leave: While maternity leave is mandated, some employers extend benefits to fathers by offering paternity leave.

Work-Life Balance and Well-being Programs

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering remote work options, flexible working hours, or compressed workweeks can enhance work-life balance for employees.
  • Childcare Support: Companies may provide on-site childcare facilities or childcare allowances to support employees with young children.
  • Wellness Programs: These can include gym memberships, fitness challenges, health screenings, or stress-management workshops, promoting employee well-being.

Other Perks and Benefits

  • Transportation Allowances: Companies may offer allowances to cover commuting costs or provide transportation facilities.
  • Meal Subsidies or Free Meals: Subsidized meals or free meals at the workplace can be a welcome benefit for employees.
  • Employee Discounts: Negotiated discounts on various products or services like gym memberships, travel, or entertainment can be a valuable perk.

Health insurance requirements

In India, health insurance is a legal requirement for a significant portion of the workforce, following a policy implemented in April 2020. The Government of India mandates that all employers provide health insurance coverage for their employees. This requirement applies irrespective of the industry or company size.

Employee State Insurance (ESI)

This scheme applies to employees earning a monthly wage of ₹21,000 or less. It's a social security program funded by both employer and employee contributions.

Group Mediclaim Cover (GMC)

This scheme is for employees earning more than ₹21,000 per month. Employers purchase a group health insurance policy that covers these employees and their dependents. Unlike ESI, employees typically do not contribute towards the premium for GMC.

Additional Points to Consider

The specific details of the health insurance plan, including coverage amount and network hospitals, can vary depending on the employer-chosen policy for GMC. Employees can choose to purchase additional health insurance on top of the mandatory coverage for increased protection.

Retirement plans

Saving for a secure retirement is crucial in today's world. Fortunately, India offers a variety of retirement plans to suit different needs and risk appetites. Here are the primary options available for employees in India:

Employees' Provident Fund (EPF)

The Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) is a retirement savings scheme. Both the employer and employee contribute 12% of the employee's basic salary (limited to Rs. 15,000 per month). This scheme offers partial tax exemption on contributions and provides a lump sum payout at retirement along with an interest component.

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is a voluntary pension scheme introduced by the Government of India. It offers Tier-I (mandatory contributions) and Tier-II (voluntary contributions) accounts. The NPS provides investment options in equity and debt instruments. Maturity proceeds consist of 60% lump sum withdrawal and 40% used to purchase an annuity. This scheme also offers tax benefits on contributions.

Private Pension Plans

Private Pension Plans are offered by insurance companies and financial institutions. They provide a variety of options like immediate or deferred annuities, unit-linked plans, and market-linked products. These plans offer flexibility in terms of premium payment options and payout structures. Tax implications may vary depending on the plan chosen.

Public Provident Fund (PPF)

The Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a long-term government savings scheme with attractive interest rates. It offers tax benefits on contributions, interest earned, and the maturity amount. The PPF has a relatively low investment risk profile.

Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds offer a diversified investment option for retirement planning. They allow investors to choose from various asset classes based on their risk tolerance. Mutual Funds provide the potential for higher returns compared to traditional saving schemes. However, they are subject to market fluctuations and require a longer investment horizon.

The ideal retirement plan depends on your individual circumstances, risk appetite, and retirement goals. Consider factors like your expected retirement age, desired retirement income, and investment preferences when making your decision. Consulting a financial advisor can be beneficial in navigating the various options and creating a personalized retirement plan.

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