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The complainant hurt herself while working on the power tailoring machine in the factory on 22 March 2019. She got an electric shock in her right arm. She was admitted to Employee State Insurance hospital and received treatment there. She was discharged after one day. The factory management came home and gave her Rs. 3000 to buy fruits and left. She took almost 4 months to recuperate and then returned to the factory. However, when she resumed work, she again had pain on her right side and swelling. She could not do much work. She informed the HR and asked for salary and leave. She was not paid for 4 months when she was on leave. HR Manager made her write a letter with her demands. He also took her to a private clinic and there she underwent a treatment for 1 month. She tried to meet the owner of the factory but she wasn't allowed. She has been sitting at home since without work or salary. She is finding it difficult to survive.
Fair Wear shared the complaint with the brand and the brand in turn shared it with the factory. The factory replied that the worker got an electric shock from a sewing machine in April 2019 and it was reported to the Employee State Insurance [Employee State Insurance Act 1948]. Compensation will be paid by Employee State Insurance only after deciding the disability from the Employee State Insurance Medical Board. They added that the Compensation Benefit Act is not applicable to the factory and they have done whatever they from their side.
Factory Management welcome Fair Wear's compliant handler for follow up. They hope that clearer communication between factory management with the former employee could be arranged and this can be solved. The complainant has been asking to return to work.
Fair Wear would check with the legal expert on the possibility of the worker receiving compensation and would inform the complainant about the management's willingness for a dialogue.
As per Fair Wear's local legal expert, the management is legally correct as per Section 53 of the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. During the discussion with the management, it could be checked if they maintain accident register and whether the details have been shared with the local Employee State Insurance office.
However, the complainant should still receive a medical certificate for permanent disability. The employer can be of some help here to navigate the bureaucratic maze.
The Fair Wear representative met with the Factory Manager, as set up by the Fair Wear member brand. The Factory Manager said that they factory has been in lock-down since 25 March 2020 as per government instructions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that if the worker obtains a Disability Certificate from a Government hospital after the lock-down is relaxed, he would consider providing the worker with an alternative job in the presence of a Fair Wear representative.
Fair Wear recommends that the brand encourages the management to provide the complainant with a suitable job, as the accident happened during working hours in the factory. Also, the management should not insist on the Disability Certificate from a Government hospital as the government is focusing on COVID-related cases now and it would be arduous for the complainant to obtain the certificate.
Factory has agreed to meet the complainant in the presence of Fair Wear staff. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting is scheduled for 3 August 2020, in which the Fair Wear Country Manager and local partner will participate. The complainant will be informed about this and will be asked to confirm if he/she is comfortable with this date.