Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) is a statutory body incepted by the government of India. Being the country’s largest social security organization, it mainly encourages people to save for retirement, among others. EPFO comes under the purview of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and was established in 1951.
This article explores the role of EPFO in uplifting the social security system in India and lists the channels through which they go about doing it.
Union Budget 2021 Outcome
In case the employee’s PF contribution was deducted but not deposited by the employer, it will not be allowed as a deduction for the employer.
|Native name||कर्मचारी भविष्य निधि संगठन|
|Founded||4th March 1952|
|Owned By||Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India|
The Constitution of India under the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ specifies that the State shall make effective provision for securing the right to work, education, and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and undeserved want within the limits of its economic capacity.
In adherence to this statement, there was a need for a dynamic social security programme in the changing environment. Thus, the legislation for a provident fund was created as an attempt to provide a dignified life for the employees and their dependents once their employment period came to a halt.
The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) came into existence with the enactment of the Employees’ Provident Funds (EPF) Ordinance in 1951. The EPF Ordinance was later replaced by the EPF Funds Act, 1952. The EPF Bill was introduced in the parliament in 1952 to provide provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments.
Law that governs employees’ provident fund is now referred to as the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (also called The Act). The Act has its applicability all over India except in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Act and all its schemes are administered by a tri-partite board called the Central Board of Trustees (EPF). The board comprises representatives of the Government (both Central and State), employers, and employees. The board is chaired by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. The Central Board of Trustees (EPF) operates 3 schemes.
The EPFO is an organisation that is established to assist the Central Board of Trustees (EPF) and is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
EPFO assists the Central Board of Trustees (EPF) in the administration of a provident fund scheme, pension scheme and an insurance scheme for the registered establishments in India and includes employees of such establishments and international workers who are covered.
EPFO’s functioning includes
EPFO is also the nodal agency for implementing Bilateral Social Security Agreements with other countries. Further, it is one of the largest social security organisations in India, both in terms of the beneficiary base and the quantum of financial transactions undertaken.
The EPFO’s apex decision making body is the Central Board of Trustees. EPFO has been taking several measures to simplify the operation of EPF account both for employers and employees by adopting IT-enabled tools and techniques. EPFO has undertaken a number of digital initiatives in the recent past.
Overall, the EPFO performs the dual role of being the administration and overseeing the implementation of the Act and also works as a service provider for the covered beneficiaries, i.e. members. EPFO’s website provides access to information and online services.
Here are the advantages of the EPF scheme:
1. Saving for the future: The EPF scheme enables individuals to save money for the long term.
2. Convenient deductions: Instead of making a large, one-time investment, deductions are made from the employee's monthly salary. This allows for significant savings over an extended period.
3. Financial support in emergencies: The EPF scheme can provide employees with financial assistance during unexpected situations.
4. Retirement savings: By participating in the EPF scheme, individuals can accumulate funds for their retirement, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle in later years.
The current interest rate for PF is 8.15%. It is simple to calculate the accumulated interest in an EPF account at the end of a financial year. This interest amount is then added to the contributions made by both the employer and the employee to determine the total balance in the account.
You can calculate your EPF here.
EPFO introduced UAN, which acts as an umbrella for multiple member IDs allotted to an individual by different employers. The UAN programme was launched in October 2014 as part of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakaram. It is perhaps the most exceptional step taken by EPFO in the recent past.
UAN is a unique 12-digit number assigned to an employee by EPFO. UAN enables the linking of multiple EPF accounts (member IDs) allotted to a single member. Employees are required to activate their UAN at the UAN portal in order to avail a wide range of online services offered by EPFO.
The UAN portal offers a bouquet of services, such as dynamically updated UAN card, updated EPF passbook (including all transfer details), facility to link previous member IDs with the present ID, SMS regarding the credit of contributions in the PF account, and a facility for auto-triggering transfer request on change of employment.
The UAN Member e-Sewa portal allows employees to register their UAN in the portal and activate it to access the services offered by the portal. The facilities available are downloading UAN card, updating KYC information online, receiving EPF account passbook linked to UAN, raise transfer request, and more.
Inoperative Accounts’ Online Helpdesk on the EPFO website was set up in February 2015 and has made tracking of old or dormant inoperative EPF accounts easy. It helps EPF members track their inoperative PF accounts, settle them or get them transferred to the present account by providing base minimum details, such as previous employment, to the extent known along with personal details. The service has been temporarily under maintenance.
While the EPF transfer was possible online earlier under ‘Online Transfer Claim Portal’, with the introduction of UAN, the process of transfer is revised and shifted under the ‘Unified Portal’. This has made EPF transfer from one account to another easy, paper-free, and also hassle-free. Refer to our article on the online EPF transfer process for more information.
An employee is allowed to withdraw PF if he/she is not employed for 60 days post resigning the previous employment. EPFO has enabled online EPF withdrawal with a simple procedure for UANs linked with Aadhar. Refer to our article on online EPF withdrawal.
Has made registration of establishment with EPFO web based. PF code allotment letter is also made available online and benefitting more and more employees.
It mandatory for all establishments to make EPF payment online. EPFO has a tie-up arrangement with some banks to collect EPFO dues and the participating banks are SBI, PNB, Indian Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank. Refer to our article on PF payment online for more details.
EPFO has launched an online form through its centralised software to generate the Certificate of Coverage (CoC) to EPF members working in countries having Social Security Agreements with India.
The SMS service and missed call service were launched to give better access to the EPF account to the EPF members who have activated their UAN. Members can access details of KYC status, last contribution, total EPF balance by sending an SMS in the format EPFOHO UAN followed by the first three characters of their preferred language to 7738299899.
Members can also obtain details by giving a missed call to 011-22901406. SMS alerts are also sent to the members intimating remittance, withdrawals, interest credit, etc. Also, SMS is sent to the employers for non-deposit of dues.
The process of submitting the monthly return by exempted establishments easier and hassle-free through the e-return filing system.
Members can view their passbook and check their claim status online. Members can also update/modify basic KYC details online.
Members/employers can also raise a complaint online with respect to EPF withdrawal, EPF transfer, pension settlement, and more. The grievance redressal is accorded the top-most priority. By systematic monitoring at the head office level, the number of pending cases has drastically come down from 20,000 grievances to only 2,000-3,000 grievances on any given day, which is a minuscule figure when seen against the 15 crore accounts being handled by the EPFO.
Various circulars issued by the EPFO can be accessed on their online portal. Recently, there have been circulars on the declaration of the rate of interest for members on their EPF account, coverage of non-enrolled contract/casual employees in respect of Indian Railways, etc.
Once a member decides to withdraw their EPF funds, they can log in to the EPFO portal and submit an online request. The member can also track the status of their EPFO claim online through the same portal.
Alternatively, employees can check the claim status by giving a missed call to 011-22901406 from their registered mobile numbers. The SMS facility or the UMANG app can also be used for checking the EPFO claim status.
To check the PF status, the member needs to provide the following information:
- Employment details
- Extension code (if required)
- Employer's EPF regional office
- Universal Account Number (UAN)
Click here to know the detailed procedure of EPF withdrawal.
The initial step to access the EPFO portal is to activate the Universal Account Number (UAN), which can be easily done on the portal itself.
Once logged in with the UAN, users can perform various activities, including:
1. Downloading the UAN card and passbook.
2. Checking the status of PF linking.
3. Viewing member IDs.
4. Tracking the status of PF transfer claims.
5. Editing personal details on the EPFO portal.
6. Updating KYC information.
Employees can log in to the EPF member portal using their UAN and password, while employers can access the website using their permanent login ID and password.
Know the detailed information here.
To streamline and enhance the transparency of transfer claims, the EPFO has introduced the use of digital signatures for employers. This enables employers to approve claims electronically, making the process more efficient. When an employer changes organizations, their transfer claim needs to be attested by either their previous or current employer. This is where the employer's digital signature becomes crucial. Previously, employers had to fill out Form 13, get it signed by their employers, and submit it to the regional EPF office.
Now, this process has been simplified and can be completed on the EPFO's member portal. To obtain a digital signature, employers must apply for a digital certificate that contains their personal details such as name, email ID, APNIC account name, public key, and country of the employer. The Certifying Authority issues the digital certificate, which includes the necessary identification key for embedding in the EPFO's member portal.
To assist employees in registering grievances, the EPFO has dedicated a section on their member portal where individuals can fill out a grievance registration form and file complaints. Common grievances faced by employees include issues related to withdrawals, PF settlements, account transfers, pension settlements, and more. If you are new to the EPFO's member portal and wish to register an EPF grievance, follow these steps:
2. Click on the "Register grievance" option located on the top bar.
3. Once clicked, the grievance registration form will be displayed.
4. Fill in the registration form by providing the following details:
5. Upload your grievance letter, enter the captcha, and submit your grievance registration.
By following these steps, you can register your EPF grievance effectively through the EPFO's member portal.
To update KYC details on the e-Sewa portal of the EPFO website, employees can follow these steps:
1. Log in to the EPFO e-Sewa portal.
2. Click the ‘Manage KYC’ option.
3. Select the type of document you wish to update on the portal, such as PAN, Aadhaar, Ration Card, etc.
4. Update the document number and member name as per the document.
5. If applicable, update the expiry date of the document.
6. Save and submit the changes.
7. The employer will review the submitted details and provide approval.
8. Once approved, the employee will receive an SMS confirming the employer's approval.
By following these steps, employees can easily update their KYC details on the e-Sewa portal of the EPFO website.
The statutory rate of contribution is 12% of basic salary plus dearness allowance of Rs 15,000 per month. In case an employee wishes to contribute on a higher basic salary, the same is possible after taking permission from the provident fund authorities.
An employee resigning from service (except in the case of retirement) can withdraw PF only after the expiry of two months.
In the case of a change in employment, an employee can transfer the PF account to the new employer by submitting Form 13. The request for transfer can also be made online.
The EPFO credits interest on the monthly running balances in the EPF accounts. The rate of interest is notified each year. For FY 2022-23, the rate notified is 8.15%.
UAN Status, Passbook and Account Balance
UAN Login & Activation
How to Link Aadhaar with UAN and PF
EPF Balance Check
Aadhar PAN Link
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ITR e Filing
Income Tax Deductions
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SIP (Systematic Investment Plan)