Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) is a government organization that manages provident fund and pension accounts of member employees and implements the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which is applicable to whole of India with exemption given only to Jammu & Kashmir. It also assists the Central Board of Trustees in making decisions related to EPF and other schemes. EPFO is administered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India.
EPFO operates the following three schemes:
- The Employees’ Provident Funds Scheme 1952 (EPF)
- The Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS)
- The Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI)
EPFO Headquarter and Offices
The EPFO headquarters are located in New Delhi where the Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC) resides. The organizational work is divided into zones and one zonal office is located in every state of India which is headed by Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner (ACPFC). All states have a minimum of one regional office which is handled by a Grade I – Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (RPFC). At the sub-region level, it is handled by the Grade II-Regional Provident Fund Commissioner. To assist Grade II–RFC officers, there are Assistant Provident Fund Commissioners (APFC). Most of the districts have Enforcement Officers who resolve grievances of employers and employees. They also inspect and oversee the local organizations.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization has signed a memorandum of association (MoU) with Central Service Centres (CSCs) which is an online network of delivery system spread across rural India to provide government services. With over 1 lakh CSCs across India, it is one of the largest government approved online service delivery channel in the world.
In addition to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization office in CSCs, pensioners can submit a Digital Life Certificate through ‘Jeevan Pramaan Patra Programme’, a biometric-enabled digital service for government pensioners. With pensioners living in remote areas, the cost and inconvenience of travelling to EPF offices or banks to submit paper based life certificate has been ruled out.
Services offered by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization
Employees’ Provident Fund Organization caters to the needs of almost all the taxpaying individuals. Services offered by the institution are directed towards the employees, their respective employers, pensioners and international workers. These services offered by the EPFO to various sections of the community are explained below.
Schedule 1 of the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 provides a listing of all the factories and establishment that have to adhere to the rules as stated in the Act.
Applicability of the Act
The Act applies to nt or class of such establishment employing 20 or more persons, whom the central government may specify by notification in the official Gazette.
A majority of these activities carried by the EPFO are now online, from registration of the establishment online to submission of Challan online and an online helpdesk for the employers.
Registration of the Establishment
The Online Registration of Establishment (OLRE) portal was introduced by EPFO to allot Employees’ Provident Fund Code numbers to establishments. In this OLRE portal, the employer has to upload the digitally signed documents during application. These details would be utilized to auto populate the fields in “Employers Details”. This portal provides the access to Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR) login.
If there are any queries with respect to the OLRE portal, one can reach Employees’ Provident Fund Organization help desk on working days, between 9.45 A.M – 5.15 P.M on the toll free number – 1800 118 005 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Services offered by the EPFO to Employers can be broadly classified in the below mentioned categories:
- Unique Account Number (UAN) of the Employee
The employer can find out the UAN details by just inputting the following:
- EPFO office
- Establishment code
- Establishment extension
- Registered mobile number
Once the OTP is generated and authenticated, one can see all relevant details of the UAN.
- Erroneous KYC (Aadhaar)
The employer can download the mistaken KYC data by simply entering basic information regarding the UAN. He can download all information with respect to the erroneous Aadhaar.
- Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR) portal
The employer has to register with the e-Sewa portal in order to generate a user ID and a password. Once the employer is logged in, the Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR) has to be uploaded along with the digital signature of the employer.
- e-payment of Employees’ Provident Fund subscription
Corporate customers of certain banks such as State Bank of India (SBI) can easily use their net banking facility to pay the required Employees’ Provident Fund commission to the EPFO via online transfers. If the organization does not possess a net banking facility with SBI then it may also choose to pay the same by entering the TRRN (Temporary Return Reference Number) generated at the EPFO website.
- Online transfer of employees account / Claim settlement
The need of a transfer arises whenever the employee switches jobs. Funds contributed by him towards his PF during his work tenure with the older organization have to be effectively shifted or withdrawn.
- The EPF balance and interest received on the fund has to be either shifted to the new organization or has to be withdrawn.
- Fund transfer can be done both online and offline.
- It also allows the employee to keep a track of his claim status and get regular updates on the same.
The online transfer claim portal (OTCP) makes it convenient for the employee to file a request with the employer to transfer his/her balance in the account from one employer to another and for submitting request of claim settlement. The employer can view all requests under one heading. All organizations can view these claims, verify the correctness of the claim to approve and settle it online.
- EPFO Grievance Management System (EPFiGMS) for Employers
In order to address grievances of the employer, EPFO has set up the EPFO grievance management system. An aggrieved employer can register his grievances by filling an online form. The form requires the basic status (EPF pensioner/employer/EPF member/any other category) of the aggrieved, PF account number, the area under which the account holder’s PF office falls, name and address of the organization along with the details of the complainants such as the name, address and other contact details. Following grievances are entertained by EPFO through this portal:
- PF withdrawal or final settlement
- transfer of PF accumulations
- scheme certificate
- pension settlement
- issue of PF slip
- payment of insured amount
- misplaced or returned Cheque
By entering the grievance registration number and the password one could look at the status of his/her complaint.
- Principal Employer
For effective compliance, this facility interlinks the principal with the respective contract employer. The principal employer can upload the details with respect to the contract workers/work orders/outsourced job contracts to extend coverage of EPF to more eligible employers.
Principal employer’s registration can be categorized into two:
- Establishment already registered with the EPFO with an establishment code and mobile number
- Government Departments / Organizations / Institutions not registered with the EPFO with a mobile number and PAN
- TRRN Query
The status of the Temporary Return Reference Number (TRRN) can be checked online.
EPFO has set up a separate helpdesk for employees and employers with respect to UAN. One can ask his query through phone or by sending an email.
The EPFO offers three basic social security schemes (SSS) to the employees – EPF, EPS and EDLI. The following services are available online for the employees:
- UAN Generation Status
If an employee has applied for an universal account number (UAN) and wishes to know the status of issue of the same, he can go to the EPFO portal and enter the details of the PF number (concerned state code, office code, region code, establishment code, extension code and the account number).
- e-Sewa for UAN Members
Employees can use the EPFO portal to register for the e-Sewa service using their UAN number. By logging into the online e-Sewa service, one can download the UAN Card, receive the account passbook, update KYC information online, etc. With the UAN, the employee can get his employer’s member ID.
- EPFO Grievance Management System (EPFiGMS) for Employees
The EPFO also provides for a grievance system which enables the member to register complaints.
- Members may lodge their complaint by clicking on ‘Register Grievance’
- They have to fill the form on the portal
- Relevant files related to the grievance being faced can be uploaded on the site
- The member may also track the status of their grievance by clicking on the ‘View Status’ tab available on the main page.
- If no reply is received from the EPFO grievance management system, then send reminders to the establishment by clicking on ‘Send a Reminder’ option.
- Online transfer of Employees’ Account / Claim Settlement
In order to transfer the EPF fund online, the employee has to visit the EPF Member Portal and login using their UAN and password. The form can be filled online and the status can be tracked as well.
- COC Application Form
The Certificate of Coverage (COC) application form can be filled online by international workers through the EPFO website. The basic particulars such as the name and registered address of the employer and the employee are required.
To assist its members with respect to inoperative accounts, EPFO has set up a separate helpdesk especially for this purpose. The helpdesk would support the member in finding out the inoperative account and then combining the same with the current account or to withdraw the funds.
- UAN Helpdesk for Employees
The UAN helpdesk is also available for the service of employees. One has to register as a member then choose the particular problem from the drop down menu that he/ she is facing with respect to his/her EPF account –
- Pending KYC with employer
- UAN activation
- Claim status
- View the passbook, etc.
For International Workers
For the assistance of employers and employees, the Government of India has signed various agreements with the countries with respect to social security benefits that India and the corresponding country would provide to the migrant workers.
The countries that have signed the agreement with the Government of India are – Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea and Canada.
These international workers can use the EPFO website to apply for a Certificate of Coverage by simply entering certain key information of the employee and the employer.
The Indian citizen should have any of the following identity proofs to complete their application for the UAN –Aadhaar Card, PAN card, passport or the voter’s ID.
Schemes implemented by EPFO
The three main social security scheme overseen by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization are the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme (EPF), Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) and the Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI). The provisions for the three schemes are stated in the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
Stated below are the brief provisions of all the three Social Security Schemes:
EPF aims at promoting savings to be used post retirement by employees. The deposits are made regularly and the amount to be contributed towards this fund is fixed and is pre-decided. The scheme provides interest to employees at 8.55% for 2017 -18. The amount of interest and the total deposit amount is totally tax free, i.e. the entire fund can be withdrawn without paying any tax on it if the member is in service for more than 5 years. It assures security monetarily to employees during unemployment and also to the employee’s family in the case of sudden death of the employee.
Employees’ Pension Scheme came into existence in the year 1995 under the guidelines of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. As per the act, the entire contribution made by the employee is directed towards his/her provident fund account, however, the contributions made by the employer is divided into 3 parts vis-à-vis the Employees’ Provident Fund account, EPS account and his/her EDLI account. The amount of monthly deposits to be done by the employer towards the EPS funds stands at 8.33%. The pension is paid to the retired member till the time he/she is alive. This act also provides benefits to the family upon the death of the employee. The family of the deceased employee may receive benefits under the scheme as well.
Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) Scheme came into being in 1976 under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. This is an insurance benefit linked to the contribution made by the employee and the employer towards the Employees’ Provident Fund. Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme is a comprehensive group term insurance. Irrespective of the cause of death, it covers the employee completely.
|EPF||12.0% / 10.0%*||employee contribution – EPS contribution$||NIL||0.85%|
The contribution percent is based on the wages i.e. Basic plus DA of the employee
EPS employee’s contribution – EPS contribution i.e. 3.67% in case of 12% employee contribution and 1.67% in case of 10% employee contribution
* Employee’s/Employer’s contribution would be restricted to 10.0% in the following cases :
- The number of employees working in the organization is less than 20
- A company declared sick under the Board of Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR)
- If an organization accumulates losses equal to or greater than the net worth at the end of the financial year, and
- An establishment in the following industries :
- Coir and
- Gaur Gum Factory
Employees’ Provident Fund Organization(EPFO) Latest News
|EPFO Boards recommends to hike EPF rate to 8.65% in FY19|
|Feb 21, 2019|
|Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) in its board meeting held on 21/02/2019 has recommended an interest rate of 8.65% for FY19 on EPF deposits. The recommendation is supposed to cheer about 6 crore EPF account holders as it provides an increase in the interest rate by 10 basis points for the coming financial year.
The EPFO board has recommended increasing the EPF interest rate from 8.55% in FY18 to 8.65% in FY19. This is the first time since FY16 that EPF rate has been changed favourably. Apart from that, the board also had a discussion on raising the minimum pension amount under the Employee Pension Scheme (EPS). However, the final call on the matter will be taken in the next EPFO board meeting.
Central Board of Trust (CBT) is headed by the labour ministry and acts as an apex decision making body for EPFO. CBT acts as a tripartite body having representation from government, employers and trade unions. However, the proposal can only be implemented with the concurrence of the finance ministry.
The EPF interest rates are recommended by EPFO board on an annual basis. The interest rate on EPF deposits fell to a five year low of 8.55% in FY18. Earlier, EPFO had pegged the rate at 8.65% in FY17 and 8.8% in FY 16. Currently, EPFO is having a subscriber base of about 60 million people and managing retirement funds over Rs. 11 lakh crore.
|EPFO to appeal against Kerala HC order allowing higher pension under EPS|
|December 28, 2018|
As per the latest notification released by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, EPFO has decided to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court of India against the Kerala High Court judgement which essentially quashed the amendments to the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) made by the EPFO in 2014.
The EPFO notification G.S.R 609 (E) effective from September 2014 issued the amendment order as Employees Pension (Amendment) Scheme which capped the maximum pensionable salary of an employee enrolled under EPS to Rs. 15,000 per month.
The amendment barred new employees from drawing a pension based on their actual salary. So, if an employee was enrolled under the EPF scheme after the notification, he could not contribute to the scheme based on his actual salary but only to a maximum of Rs.15,000 and hence, could not claim a higher pension. The amendment also mandated that the average of last 60 months pay (instead of the last 12 months) will be calculated for the employee’s pension.
Prior to the notification, on a joint request of the employee and employer, the employee was allowed to contribute to the EPF scheme on the basis of his actual salary. The notification permitted the employees who were already making contributions based on their actual salary to continue to do so but only if such member made additional contributions at the rate of 1.16 percent on the salary exceeding Rs. 15,000. It did not allow new employees to contribute on the basis of their actual salary.
Many organizations and employees while terming the amendment as against the spirit of EPS scheme, filed as many as 507 writ petitions against the 2014 notification.
In October 2018, a division bench of Kerala high court comprising Justice K.Surendra Mohan and A.M Babu while delivering a verdict in favour of the pensioners, set aside the EPFO amendments which drastically reduced the pension eligibility of employees under the EPF scheme.
However, EPFO has decided to challenge the verdict in the apex court. In its notification the, EPFO has also directed its officials to be patient and sympathetic to the pensioners visiting the office for resolving issues arising subsequent to the judgement.