Workers in small firms with at least 10 employees will be covered by the Provident Fund if a proposal by the ministry of labour and employment is passed. Currently only staff in firms with a minimum workforce of 20 are covered by the social security law. About 4.2 million workers employed in 320,000 establishments will be eligible for coverage. For every Rs 100 a worker makes, Rs13.50 is taken deducted as equal contribution from the employer and employee and put into the provident fund account, which, this year has an 8.5% return. Industry representatives say this is bad news for both small industry and the workers concerned. “While the contribution costs of micro industries will go up and make them unviable, workers are reluctant to see part of their salary deducted,” said Gandhi Kumar, president of the Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association, which has at least 100,000 member units.