EPF - Employee Provident Fund

The Employees’ Provident Fund scheme was introduced in 1952 and act that governs it – the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Act, 1952, is administered by the Central Board of Trustees.

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme

The administration of the Act is carried out by the Central Board of Trustees which comprises representatives of three parties viz. the government, employers and employees. The Board is assisted by the Employees’ Provident Fund organization (EPFO) which falls under the purview of the Government through the Ministry of labor and Employment. Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) is a government scheme that is managed by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Companies with minimum 20 employees have to register with the EPFO as per the law. Employees and employers contribute to the EPF corpus on a monthly basis. The EPF scheme aims to provide financial security to the employees after their retirement. It also encourages employees to save money every month so that the accumulated savings can come in handy during unemployment or post retirement.

The aim of the Employee Provident Fund(EPF) scheme is to promote retirement savings for employees across India. The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is a corpus of funds built through regular, monthly, contributions made by an employee and his/her employer. The amount contributed to the fund is based on a fixed rate. Employees earn interest on their EPF balance. Both, the interest earned and the total amount withdrawn at maturity are tax-free, making this one of the most popular forms of long-term retirement savings among the working population in India. Besides retirement, funds accumulated in an employee’s EPF account can also be used at time of resignation or death. It also offers financial security in times of emergency and if an employee is rendered unfit for unemployment.

The EPFO, therefore, services an unusually large number of subscribers. This, coupled with the large number of associated transactions involved, ranks the EPFO among the largest organizations, globally. There are currently more than 5 crore members that the EPFO services. Under the Act, the EPFO operates three schemes in all viz.

  • Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952
  • Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 (which replaced the Employees’ Family Pension Scheme, 1971)
  • Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme, 1976

Under the Act, member employees are eligible for provident fund, pension and insurance benefits as per the above mentioned schemes.

EPF
Figure 1. EPF – Employee Provident Fund

Benefits of EPF Scheme

The EPF scheme is one of the most important savings schemes in India for many reasons. Key advantages are highlighted below.

Tax-free earnings: The interest earned on funds held in an EPF account is tax-free. Withdrawals at maturity/beyond 5 years are also tax-free (except in case of premature withdrawal). This helps optimize growth and returns on savings. Contributions made towards EPF are tax deductible u/s 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1956.

Financial Security: Funds in the account are not easy to withdraw and so savings is ensured.

a. Retirement - eventually, the amount collected provides financial security at time of retirement.

b. Emergencies - The funds are also useful in times of emergencies to meet certain requirements for which premature withdrawals are allowed in certain cases

c. Loss of income - If an employee for some reason cannot work any longer, these funds help tide over loss of income.

  • Resignation - After 2 months of resignation employees can withdraw accumulated amounts in their PF accounts
  • Death - the accumulated amount is passed on to the employee’s nominee providing them financial stability.
  • Disability - If employees cannot work any longer, EPF Balance can be withdrawn to tide one over.
  • Retrenchment or discharge - This where employees are laid off from work. PF savings can bridge the income gap till another job can be found.

Long-term savings option: This is a sound savings option for employees with long-term investment goals.

Source of funds: In times of need, EPF funds can provide an employee much needed liquidity. Funds can be borrowed to meet certain pressing needs such as medical, housing, marriage and education.

Pension: Under the Act, along with provident funds, an employer also contributes towards an employee’s pension fund which the employee can eventually use upon retirement.

Insurance: Under the Act, an employer also contributes towards an employee’s life insurance in the absence of a group cover, thereby ensuring employees are insured.

Universal access: Employees can transfer their accounts when they change employers and with the introduction of the Universal Account Number (UAN) they can now access their EPF accounts through a single-point.

  • EPF offers 8.55% interest rate p.a. for FY2018-19. The contributions made by the employee and employer will accrue interest earnings over a period of time. Thus, providing financial security to the employee post retirement.
  • EPF offers tax benefits in the form tax exemption for EPF withdrawals if made after 5 years of continuous contributions and tax deductions on EPF contributions.

New Features on EPFO portal

With the drive to make India a digitally developed nation, the government has been constantly introducing new and more convenient facilities to further the idea of creating paperless transactions throughout and increasing transparency in government procedures.

The labor ministry found that there were lakhs of inactive EPF accounts because each employee had more than one PF account owing to the number of job changes one had made. The government hence decided to allow employees to merge all PF accounts into one with the use of UAN (Universal Account Number). Added to this, EPFO services are made available on a new application named UMANG.

75% EPF withdrawal after one-month unemployment

Salaried individuals who have contributed to the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) can now withdraw up to 75% of their EPF corpus if they have been unemployed for minimum one month. Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had recently decided to permit EPF contributors to get an advance against their EPF corpus upon job loss that results in unemployment for a minimum period of one month. This decision was taken by the central board of trustees (CBT) of the EPFO. However, a statutory notification is required in order for the decision to be approved.

Previously, the EPF rules stated that withdrawal of the complete EPF corpus upon unemployment was allowed only if the individual was unemployed for a period of minimum 2 months. The complete withdrawal of EPF corpus meant the closing of an EPF account. Thus, to ensure EPF subscribers don't close their account and still have access to their funds, the EPFO had decided to let the EPFO members who have been unemployed for at least a month to withdraw up to 75% of the EPF corpus.

How to withdraw 75% of the EPF corpus after one-month unemployment?

For complete withdrawal of EPF corpus, you have to fill and submit Form 19. For withdrawing pension amount from the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS), you have to fill and submit Form 10C. Likewise, for partial withdrawal of the same for the purpose of medical treatments, children's education, wedding expenditure, etc., you have to fill and submit Form 31. The composite form has combined all the above-mentioned forms into one which has then been categorised into Aadhaar and Non-Aadhaar categories.

  • The Aadhaar-based composite form is for those who have linked their Aadhaar, PAN, and bank account with the UAN. These individuals can submit their withdrawal claim online using the Aadhaar composite form. Since the EPFO has the individual's KYC and EPF account details, the employer’s intervention is not required. Only if the details don't match is the individual required to reach out to his or her employer.
  • The Non-Aadhaar composite form is for those individuals who have not linked their Aadhaar to their UAN. Thus, this form has to be signed and attested by the individual's employer and has to be submitted to the EPF office by the employer. For the claim settlement to be processed, it will take up to 2 weeks.

In conclusion, as per the new provision under the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952, salaried employees who have contributed to the EPF can get an advance of up to 75% of the EPF corpus upon unemployment for a period of minimum one month. The remaining 25% of the EPF corpus can be withdrawn upon 2 months of unemployment. This provision will prove to be beneficial to more than 5 crore EPFO members as it prevents premature closure of EPF accounts. The objective of the EPF scheme is to provide social security to salaried employees upon retirement. The new provision will allow EPFO members to enjoy quick withdrawal of money while keeping their EPF accounts active even after unemployment.

One Member – One EPF Account

Under the ‘Services’ tab on the EPFO portal, the ‘One Employee – One EPF Account’ link can be found. Clicking on the link will redirect you to a page where you can enter your phone number and then your UAN, after which you can provide details about all your previous PF accounts (Up to 10 PFT accounts at a go). With the help of this facility, you can consolidate all your PF accounts with the help of one unique 12-digit number called the UAN.

EPF Membership Eligibility

To avail benefits of the EPF scheme, employees have to become members of the provident fund.

  • Employees are eligible for membership on the day of joining an establishment. This includes eligibility for provident funds, insurance and pension. Establishments with 20 or more employees have to provide PF to their employees.
  • The Act does not apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

EPF Contributions

An employee’s provident fund account is made up of contributions

  • made by the employee him/herself and his/her employer
  • at a fixed rate; predetermined
  • on a monthly basis
  • based on the employee’s basic pay + DA
  • funds under the EPF scheme are invested as prescribed.

Currently, contributions are made at 12% but for the following establishments it is 10% i.e.

  • establishments with less than 20 employees
  • sick industries as identified by the BIFR
  • establishments whose year-end losses are as much or more than their net worth
  • jute, beedi, brick, coir and guar gum establishments
  • establishments subject to a set wage limit; currently Rs.6,500

Employer’s Contribution to EPF

  • Employee's contribution: 12% of an employee's basic pay + dearness allowance + retaining allowance is deducted from the employee’s monthly salary and contributed to the employee's EPF account.
  • Employer's contribution: A matching 12% is contributed by the employer. Out of the 12%, 3.67% is contributed to the employee's EPF account while the remaining 8.33% is made to the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS) account.

The minimum contribution is now set at 12% of Rs.15,000 = Rs.1,800 i.e. Rs.1,800 from the employee and Rs.1,800 from the employer. (It was earlier at 12% of Rs.6,500 p.m. = Rs.780).

While the entire contribution from an employee is directed towards his/her provident fund, a part of the employer’s contribution goes towards pension and insurance and also administration costs in the following proportions

12% of salary (basic + DA) total contribution = 8.33% to EPS and 3.67% to EPF

Additionally, 0.5% to EDLI; 1.1% to EPF administration costs and 0.01% to EDLI administration costs. This means the employer’s total contribution is 13.61%

EPF Interest Rate

The latest EPF interest rate stands at 8.8% p.a. (2015 - 2016). Interest rate for EPF deposits for the year 2017 - 2018 is 8.65%

  • Balances held in the EPF account earn interest. Such interest earned is entirely tax-free. Interest is calculated and credited to the account based on a set rate of interest.
  • As with many other state-run savings schemes, EPF interest rates are decided every year by the Indian government in conjunction with the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) who administer the Act in association with the EPFO. The rate announced is applicable for the year it is announced.
  • The year for which EPF interest rates are applicable refers to a financial year i.e. April 1st of one year to March 31st of the following year. For e.g. for the period 2014 - 2015, the interest rate of 8.75% is applicable on EPF deposits from April 1st 2014 to March 31st 2015.
  • Interest is calculated based on monthly running balances but credited on an annual basis, at the end of the year i.e. March 31st. Interest so credited is then added to the following month’s balance i.e. it is included in April’s balance for interest calculation.
  • If an EPF account is deemed inoperative, interest will no longer be credited to it.
  • Interest is not payable on withdrawn amounts.
  • Interest is not payable on the amounts directed towards EPS by the employer.
Table 1.Historical Rates of Interest

Year/Period

Interest Rate (p.a.)

1952 - 1955

3.00%

1955 - 1957

3.50%

1957 - 1963

3.75%

1963 - 1964

4.00%

1964 - 1965

4.25%

1965 - 1966

4.50%

1966 - 1967

4.75%

1967 - 1968

5.00%

1968 - 1969

5.25%

1969 - 1970

5.50%

1970 - 1971

5.70%

1971 - 1972

5.80%

1972 - 1974

6.00%

1974 - 1975

6.50%

1975 - 1976

7.00%

1976 - 1977

7.50%

1977 - 1978

8.00%

1978 - 1979

8.50% (i.e. 8.00% + 0.5% as bonus)

1979 - 1981

8.25%

1981 - 1982

8.50%

1982 - 1983

8.75%

1983 - 1984

9.15%

1984 - 1985

9.90%

1985 - 1986

10.15%

1986 - 1987

11.00%

1987 - 1988

11.50%

1988 - 1989

11.80%

1989 - 2000

12.00%

2000 - 2001

12.00% - till June 2001

11.00% - From July 2001

2001 - 2004

9.50%

2004 - 2005

9.50% (i.e. 9.00% + 0.5% as Golden Jubilee Bonus )

2005 - 2010

8.50%

2010 - 2011

9.50%

2011 - 2012

8.25%

2012 - 2013

8.50%

2013 - 2015

8.75%

2015 - 2016

8.8%

2016 - 2017

8.65%

2017-2018

8.65%

How to calculate interest on EPF Balance

The interest rate is declared on a per annum basis but the interest is calculated for every month. The interest rate for a month is the per annum rate divided by 12 months. E.g. if you consider an EPF interest rate of 12% p.a. then the rate for each month is 12/12 = 1% p.m.

Let us consider the following example for the fiscal year 2014 - 2015 for which the EPF deposit rate was 8.75% p.a. Assume the employee started contributions in the month of December.

  • First, calculate the interest rate per month = 8.75 / 12 = 0.73%
  • Next, remember that the employees entire contribution is directed toward his/her EPF account.
  • Lets consider he/she contributes 12% of Rs.15,000 = Rs.1,800 per month; this is credited to his/her EPF account at the end of the month when he/she receives his/her salary.
  • So in this case, the first months contribution i.e. Decembers contribution will earn interest only after completing a month in the account, which will be the end of the following month i.e January
  • His/her employer will match this contribution = Rs.1,800. However, remember that only 3.67% of the employers contribution is directed towards the employees EPF account and the balance 8.33% is directed towards the employees EPS account. Therefore, the employers contribution to the employees EPF account = Rs. 3.67% * Rs.15,000 = Rs.550

In this case, monthly contribution to EPF by the employee & employer = Rs.1,800 + Rs.550 = Rs.2,350

Dec 2014 Balance at end of Dec. = Rs.2,350
Interest for Dec. 2014 = Nil
Jan 2015 Balance carried forward from Dec. = Rs.2,350
Balance at end of Jan = Rs.2,350 + Rs.2,350 = Rs. 4700
Interest for Jan. 2014 = Rs.4,700 * 0.73% = Rs.34.31
Feb. 2015 Balance carried forward from Jan. = Rs.4,700
Balance at end of Jan = Rs.4,700 + Rs.2,350 = Rs.7,050
Interest for Feb. 2014 = Rs.7,050 * 0.73% = Rs.51.46
March. 2015 Balance carried forward from Feb. = Rs.7,050
Balance at end of March = Rs.7,050 + Rs.2,350 = Rs.9,400
Interest for Mar. 2014 = Rs.9,400 * 0.73% = Rs.68.62

At the end of March, total interest earned for 2014 – 2015 will be credited to the employees account

= Rs.34.31 + Rs.51.46 + Rs.68.62 = Rs.154.39

This will be added to Aprils balance. Assuming the employees contribution and EPF interest rate remains the same for FY 2015 - 16

Apr. 2015 Balance carried forward from Mar. = Rs.9,400 + 154.39 = Rs.9,554.39
Balance at end of Apr.= Rs.9,554.39 + Rs.2,350 = Rs.11,904.39
Interest for Apr. 2014 = Rs.11,904.39 * 0.73% = Rs.86.90
May. 2015 Balance carried forward from Apr. = Rs.11,904.39
Balance at end of Apr.= Rs.11,904.39 + Rs.2,350 = Rs.14,254.39
Interest for May. 2014 = Rs.14,254.39 * 0.73% = Rs.104.05

This continues till the end of March 2016 when interest earned for the year will be added up and credited again.

What happens to your EPF account when you change jobs?

When joining a new company, the employee has to submit a composite declaration form along with his or her UAN and PF number from the previous employer to the new employer. The latter will enter the provided information on the EPFO employer website which in turn will generate a new PF number for the employee. The new PF number which corresponds to the new employer will be linked to the employee's UAN.

EPF Forms

To register, make withdrawals or avail advances from an EPF account or to file EPF returns, as well as for other reasons, an employee/member will have to fill out a form. The form depends on what the member is applying for and each form has to be filled and submitted along with supporting documentation or proofs (if required). Eligibility to make a claim is subject to fulfillment of predetermined criteria.

The various types of forms a member would fill in various circumstances are EPF Claim Forms, Registration Forms & Returns Forms.

How to Transfer your EPF Account online/offline

Employees contribute to their EPF accounts during their service. When an employee changes employers and moves to a new establishment, there arises the question of withdrawing or transferring their EPF accounts. EPF account balances can be transferred from an employee’s old establishment to the new one. This includes the interest earned on contributions to the PF account.

EPF transfer can either be done online or offline. Ever since online transfers were introduced, they have gained preference over offline transfers. Online transfers are more convenient and save on time and effort. It is also easier to track online EPF transfer and get status updates.

How to Transfer EPF offline

To transfer EPF account balances from past employers to present employers

  • An employee will have to fill and submit a duly attested Form 13 to his/her past or present employer. The form can be attested by either the past of present employer.
  • As mentioned above under section ‘Form-13’, the form will then have to be submitted to the regional EPF office relevant to the attesting employer. PF contributions from the old account will be transferred to a Trust.
  • The old employer will have to submit Annexure K to the relevant Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (RPFC) or Regional EPF office. Annexure K will indicate the employee’s tenure of service and the pension fund account balances. When Annexure K is received and verified, the PF trust will complete the transfer process through NEFT. The balance from the old account will then be credited to the employee’s new account.
  • In many cases, though, Annexure K is not submitted which means money cannot be credited by the Trust to the new account. There is no way to track this which led to a large number of transfer cases being stalled. For this reason, claim forms and Annexure K were then digitized to facilitate online EPF transfers.

How to Transfer EPF online

To transfer EPF account balances from past employers to present employers online, an employee will have to go through the EPFO portal/website at www.epfindia.gov.in

  • First verify that the past and present employers have registered digital signatures with the EPFO. If they don’t have digital signatures, follow the offline PF transfer procedure.
  • On the EPFO portal’s home page, choose the option Online Transfer Claim Portal (OTCP)
  • Next choose the option to check eligibility to file a transfer claim online (the other two options are for detailed instructions and FAQs)
  • To check eligibility for OCTP, provide prior PF details viz. the old and new EPF account numbers.
  • If registered with the site, log-in with the member id; if not register to get log-in details.
  • Logging-in entails filling in the document type and number and mobile number (same as the log-in details for the member portals). This will lead to the Online Transfer Claim Application.
  • Request for account transfer under the ‘Claim’ option in the menu.
  • Part A, Part B and Part C of Form 13 - Request for Transfer of Account Form will be displayed.
  • Part A - fill in personal details viz. name, mobile number, email id, bank account number and IFS code.
  • Part B - fill in details of the old PF account viz. The PF account number and EPF office. Proceed to obtain the following details viz. the employee’s old establishment name and address, the employee’s name, date of birth, joining and exit date, father’s/spouse’s name and the relevant EPF office where the account was held. If the date of birth is not displayed, ensure this detail is updated.
  • Part C - similar to Part B, except this pertains to the current PF account details.
  • Choose to have the form/claim attested by the current or old employer.
  • Preview the form once completed and make changes as required, if any.
  • Get the Pin and accept the declaration. Finally enter the pin as sent to the provided mobile number to submit the online claim/form for transfer of PF account.
  • Print the filled in form, sign, and submit it to the chosen employer for attestation. The chosen employer verifies the form in the portal. Once verified, the EPFO will proceed to transfer the account.
  • Issues can be logged on the portal through the grievance system.

Eligibility for online transfers can be checked on the same portal by providing the old and new pf account details. You can track your EPF transfer claim status online through the portal. Offline transfers are hard to track.

Automatic Transfer of EPF on job change

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) provides a retirement savings scheme for private sector employees. The Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) scheme provides social security to employees after retirement. The employer and employee will have to contribute 12% of the employee’s basic salary to EPF. After retirement, the employee will get a lump sum amount with interest and pension.

Employees who have contributed to EPF for a minimum of 10 years become eligible for pension. Therefore, it is advisable to transfer the old EPF account to the new employer instead of closing it. Employees will receive a 12-digit Universal Account Number (UAN) which is allotted by the EPFO to the EPF members.

When changing jobs, employees have to decide whether they want to transfer their EPF account to the new employer or close it. EPFO allows members to automatically transfer EPF accounts upon job change. The process of automatic EPF transfer is as follows:

  • After joining a new company, the employer will ask the employee to submit F-11 which is the 'Composite Declaration Form'. The form has to be filled with personal details and the Universal Account Number.
  • If the UAN is linked with the employee's Aadhaar and also verified by the previous employer, then the employee will receive a message about the PF auto-transfer to his or her registered mobile number.
  • If an employee wants to stop auto-transfer, then he or she has to make the request as soon as possible, or else the transfer will occur within 10 days of the employee receiving the auto-transfer message.
  • The auto-transfer process will be initiated only after the new employer makes the first contribution deposit to the new EPF account.
  • If an employee's UAN is not verified by the previous company, then he or she has to apply for EPF transfer through the offline channel.

The transfer of EPF accounts has become hassle-free and simple with the digitisation process adopted by the EPFO. An EPF member/employee just has to furnish a few basic details along with the UAN to the new employer and the new employer will have to update the details provided on the EPFO portal. This will initiate the automatic transfer of the PF money from the old EPF account to the new one.

EPF Claims Status check/inquiry - Online or Offline

In many claim forms, members can receive EPF claim approval and other status updates via SMS by providing their mobile numbers atop the claim form before submission. Subscribers can check for epf withdrawal status, EPF Transfer status, epf settlement status. This can be done in two ways viz. Online or Offline.

Online tracking of EPF Claims

The online mode is preferable as it is more convenient, quicker and easier to follow. However, not all states provide this facility and as such the offline method will have to be followed. For those who can avail this facility online, the status can be checked on the EPFO portal under ‘Know Your Claim Status’ (KYCS). This service can be used by any member to track a claim made at any EPFO office pan India.

  • At the EPFO site, click on the link to know your claim status information
  • Choose the relevant state and EPF office that maintains your account from the list provided
  • After the Region and Office codes are displayed, enter the Establishment code and its sub code or extension code, if any.
  • Enter the PF account number and submit
  • The PF claim status will be displayed; if claim details were not updated in the system, the status will reflect ‘No record found’. Generally, on submission of claims, post updation in the system, a claim ID is generated.

If a mobile number has been provided in the claim form, wherever possible, an SMS update will be provided. In case of transfer, an update will be sent regarding closure of the old PF account and another updated will be sent regarding transfer of balance to the new PF account. In case of account settlement, an update will be sent regarding receipt of application at the EPF office and another update will be sent regarding credit of balance to the applicant’s account. In case a claim is not approved or there are some difficulties in processing a claim, applicant’s may receive a ‘claim rejected’ status.

Offline tracking of EPF Claims

The offline method entails a visit to the relevant EPFO office. Forms have to be either filled in manually and submitted at the EPF office or downloaded from the portal filled and submitted at the epf office.

Contact EPFO to check claim status information

Applicants can reach out to the EPFO through its helpline or customer care numbers to gain information on different services including to ask about their claims in process. These lines are open all the time and call representatives will assist callers with their queries. The numbers can be obtained through the EPFO portal.

EPF Passbook

PF subscribers can check their EPF/PF balances and account status updates through their passbooks which records transactions made with respect to their PF accounts. The employees PF status and account updates are recorded in this passbook on a monthly basis and will include contributions made, interest credited, withdrawals made (if any) and PF member details such PF account number, the employee-member’s name and birth date.

Earlier, employers would provide employees with an annual statement detailing contributions made by each party and interest earned thereon. This statement would be sent to the employer by the relevant EPFO office at the end of a financial year.

In 2012, however, the EPFO introduced EPF e-passbooks or online EPF passbooks which members can access and download through the EPFO portal, www.epfindia.gov.in. These e-passbooks contain all transactions pertaining to their account (as mentioned above). The e-passbook can be downloaded multiple times, as required.

To avail the EPF e-passbook facility, members will have to first register on the epf members portal. Also, it is only available to those employees for whom the ECR (Electronic Challan cum Receipt) has been uploaded by their employers and for whom the employer has remitted dues; applicable from May 2012. (Employees who discontinued service prior to March 2012 will have to put in a request for the passbook. This can be done through the portal). Additionally, this facility does not apply to those employees whose accounts are inoperative or have been settled. However, employees can request passbooks of inoperative accounts to be displayed by putting in a request for the same through the portal.

Once registered on the member portal, subscribers can download their e-passbooks by providing the following details viz. the state of the PF office, the PF office, the company code, the PF account number and name of the subscriber. Once this is done, the authentication pin has to be generated through the ‘Get Pin’ icon. Once received via the registered mobile number, it has to be entered at the bottom of the page after agreeing to the disclaimer. This will give subscribers the link to download their EPF e-passbook.

EPF Member Portal - Registration

  • On the EPFO site (www.epfindia.gov.in) subscribers should choose the member portal featured under the section ‘For Employees’.
  • This will lead to the welcome page, at the bottom of which is a link to ‘Register’
  • On clicking this link, subscribers will be directed to a page wherein the following details will have to be filled/chosen viz. subscriber’s mobile number, birth date, document, document number, name of subscriber as provided on the document, email id.
  • Once filled in, an authentication pin will have to be generated by clicking on ‘Get Pin’. This pin number will be sent to the subscriber’s mobile and the same has to be entered at the bottom of the page, after agreeing to the disclaimer.

(The document chosen to register cannot be changed later. Documents include identity proofs like AADHAAR, PAN, NPR, Voter ID, Driving License, Bank Account or Passport.

  • Once completed, a message will be displayed stating that the registration process was successful.
  • Log-in details will be sent to the subscriber’s mobile. These details can be used to log into the EPF members site thereafter. Additionally, the subscriber will have to verify his/her email id through the email sent to it.
  • To log-in to the EPF member portal, there is no requirement for a user id or password. The subscriber simply chooses a type of document and enters the document number. This acts as his/her user id. The registered mobile number acts as his/her password.

On registration the subscriber can view one PF account per establishment and up to 10 accounts under different establishments. Besides being able to access the PF passbook online, subscribers also get single-point access to all their accounts.

How to check EPF Balance Online

EPF balances can be checked online in the Know Your EPF Balance of the EPFO site. To check your PF balance status, click on the link provided. Choose the relevant EPFO office and fill in your PF account number, including extension number, if any. Fill in your name and mobile number. On submission of all these details, an update on the PF balance will be sent to the mobile number provided. Alternatively, the EPF balance can be checked using the Universal Account Number or UAN.

UAN - Universal Account Number

This is a single number that a PF subscriber can use to view all accounts held by him/her with different establishments. The unique 12 digit UAN links all member ids of a PF subscriber. This makes accessing and tracking his/her accounts easy and convenient. UANs are provided to employees by their employers. Once obtained, the allotted UAN should be quoted to new employers, if any. The new employer will provide a new member id to the employee and this will be linked to the UAN. With UANs, employees will depend less on employer intervention especially in transferring of PF accounts.

UANs are still in the process of being rolled out. An employee can check if he/she has been allotted a UAN by checking the uan members section of the EPFO services portal at www.uanmembers.epfoservices.in. Here, employees can check their UAN status by providing their PF account number. If allotted, they can approach their employer to obtain it. Employees have to provide KYC documents to their employers (which employers verify) before they are given their UAN. The next step will be to register or activate their UAN.

Activating /Registering UAN

Employees who receive their UAN will have to register it. This can be done at the UAN members site as mentioned above by clicking on the link provided Activate Your UAN. Employees require the following details to activate their UAN - the UAN itself, member ID as given by the new employer who provided the UAN and mobile number. When registering or activating their UANs, employees have to also create passwords for the UAN members portal. The user id will be the UAN itself.

Once registered, members can access their UAN cards and PF passbooks. UANs can also be activated via mobile phones. To do so, members should login to the UAN Member Portal and choose Download Passbook or Download UAN Card from the download menu.

EPFO e-Sewa Portal

As of April 2012, EPFO launched Electronic Challan cum Receipt (ECR) online. In keeping with this, all employers are required to register on the EPFO portal and upload and approve electronic returns based on which an online challan will be generated. Further, payment can be made via internet banking. The employers EPF return and challan can also be printed and payment made offline. Payments are made to SBI; whether made online or at an SBI branch, an SMS update is provided. This online service eliminates the need for employers to file returns physically i.e. there is no physical filling of forms and submissions required to the EPFO. It also does away with filing Form 5, Form 10, Form 12A, Form 3A, Form 6A.

  • Form 5 and Form 10 - Employers file these on a monthly basis detailing all the employees to be added and deleted, respectively, under the EPF scheme.
  • Form 12A - Another report filed on a monthly basis by employers detailing payments credited to employee EPF accounts
  • Form 3A and 6A - Filed by employers by April 30th on an annual basis detailing employee-members EPF and pension contribution for each month of the year and for the year respectively.

Being implemented from FY 2011- 2012, annual accounts for prior years have to be requested for and this can be done through the EPFO portal itself.

How much amount can be withdrawn from the EPF corpus?

Almost every salaried employee contributes towards EPF in India. While the accumulated EPF amount is withdrawn generally at the time of retirement, there are certain other factors that qualify for premature withdrawals. Refer to the below table for premature withdrawal norms and the maximum amount that can be withdrawn.

Reason for withdrawal Eligibility Condition Amount Number of times
For marriage The member should have completed 7 years since enrollment in EPF scheme. The withdrawal is allowed on the occasion of:
  • One’s own marriage
  • Child’s marriage
  • Siblings marriage
50% of the accumulated amount Thrice during the entire career
For education Withdrawal is allowed only for the education of children and the PF member should apply using Form 31 50% of the accumulated amount Thrice during the entire career
For medical treatment For treatment of self, spouse, parents, and children. Certificate of proof should be submitted 6 times the monthly salary of the person or the accumulated EPF amount (whichever is lesser) Anytime
For Buying a house Should be employed from 5 years, and the property should be registered in the individual’s or his spouse’s name or should be jointly owned. 36 times the individual’s monthly salary Once
For repayment of home loan Should be employed from 10 years, and the property should be registered in the individual’s or his spouse’s name or should be jointly owned. 36 times the individual’s monthly salary Once
Pre-retirement Should be at least 54 years of age 90% of the EPF balance Once

UMANG App

The UMANG (Unified Mobile App for New Governance) App helps employees view their passbook and make withdrawal requests through the app. While the passbook can be viewed without seeding one’s Aadhaar details, claim requests require EPFO members to seed their Aadhaar number with their UAN.

For Employers - How to register on EPFO for ECR

  • Establishments can register at esewa.epfoservices.in by clicking on the register icon. When registering for the first time, temporary login details will be generated. This can be changed on subsequent login.
  • Next, the relevant state of the establishments EPFO office should be chosen. This will display a list of offices. The appropriate office should be chosen.
  • This leads to the registration page in which the following details should be filled viz. - name and address of the establishment, coverage date, PAN, establishment name as per PAN, names of three authorized persons with their number and email ids. Once these details are filled, the authorization pin should be obtained by clicking on Get Pin. After filling this in, the I Agree box should be checked off and registration complete. Temporary log in details will be sent via SMS i.e. the temporary user id/password.
  • If registration is successful, a screen displaying a message to that effect will appear with instructions to login again to reset the temporary username and password.
  • To do so, the temporary details provided have to be entered in the Log In section of the main page. New details can then be entered and the process completed by clicking on Create Permanent Login. Note - once entered and confirmed, user names cannot be changed later.
  • An SMS update is provided on successful registration.

The ECR file format can be downloaded from the site. Annexure 1 - Members Aadhaar details, Annexure 2 - Error Code List and Annexure 3 - Member Details Correction (Form 5 and 10). are also available on the same page. These are samples/instructions on how to prepare the file for upload.

EPF Correction

To make changes to personal details viz. name, birth-date and husband or spouses name, employee-members can initiate the process through their employers using the correction form which has to be submitted/declared jointly i.e. between the employee-member and the employer. The changes will have to be effected in the EPF database. Documentation to support the changes required will have to be provided to the employer.

PF members may want to make changes because the names or birth-date updated in the database is incorrect. The name may have been misspelled or otherwise, or changed after marriage. Sometimes, employers erroneously update employees details. It is important to correct errors in the name and birth-date in the EPF database because such discrepancies can create issues at time of withdrawal of PF or during other PF transactions.

By checking the EPF passbook online or through the UAN portal, one can check for errors in PF database pertaining to name and birth-date. If request for change has been made, applicants can update or track whether changes have been effected in the EPF database by checking the passbook subsequent to submitting the application.

How to fill PF Name Correction Application

The form can be downloaded from the PF portal. The form has to be addressed to the Regional PF commissioner. Details to be filled are the employee-members name, the employers name, the correct name of the employee, his/her husband or father, EPF account number, birthdate and dates of joining/leaving his/her employer. Also, the incorrect details have to be provided against the relevant field. The supporting documentation for the change has to be declared. The form should be duly signed by the employee and employer and submitted along with self-attested copies of documents. The employer forwards the form to the relevant PF office.

For name change after marriage, the marriage certificate should also be provided as proof. It is advisable to have the same name in the PF database as the employee-members bank account and office documents.

Although online correction of EPF details is yet to be implemented, the implementation of UAN and online updation of verified KYC details should facilitate reduced errors. However, mobile and email id details can be changed online using the UAN portal.

PF Grievances

The EPFO hosts a grievance management system at EPFiGMS.gov.in for members to lodge their grievances for redressal. Members can check their EPF balances and find out the status of their claims as well through this portal.

Members will have to register their grievance by choosing Register Grievance from the main page menu. In the Grievance Registration Form, members will have to fill in their EPF details, Personal details and Grievance details.

Under EPF details, members will have to first specify whether they are registering issues in the capacity of an employee, employer, pensioner or other. They will then have to specify the relevant EPFO office and their company’s name and address. Under grievance details, files can be uploaded.

Registered grievances can then be tracked through the link View Status provided on the main page.

The Employee Provident Fund organization was started as a platform for retirement savings, targeting individuals employed in the private sector. EPF contributions begin right from the time a person is employed and it continues till he/she attains 58 years. The sole purpose of EPF is to save a portion of the employee’s salary on a regular basis, which can be withdrawn as a lump sum at the time of retirement. The interest paid on EPF is announced by the government on a yearly basis in consultation with the Central Board of Trustees.

The employee contributes 12% of his basic salary towards EPF, which is matched with 12% contribution from the employer’s side. Also, the employee contributions are taxable whereas employer’s contributions are exempted from tax. Employee Provident Fund Scheme, Employee Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme, and Employee Pension Scheme are the three schemes active under The EPF & MP Act, 1952. Any organization with more than 20 workers should compulsorily register for EPF.

Eligibility criteria for EPF membership

EPFO increased the wage ceiling on PF eligibility from Rs.6500 to Rs.15,000 due to salary revisions in both organized and unorganized sector. At present, any employee whose income is above Rs.15,000 is eligible to enroll for EPF scheme. But some organizations also enroll employees below the aforementioned salary range depending on certain conditions. However, once enrolled, you cannot cancel your EPF membership.

How to enroll for EPF

Individuals at the time of joining a new organization must fill Form 11, if the employing organization is registered under the EPF scheme. To be a member of the EPF scheme, it is necessary that employees submit the declaration form along with nomination details. The purpose of declaration form is to know whether the employee is an existing member of the EPF scheme or not.

Linking EPF with UAN

UAN is a 12 digit unique identity assigned to every employee who is a member of the EPF scheme. UAN acts as an online platform that provides EPF services. From knowing your current status to downloading passbook, the UAN number allows you to access a wide variety of information related to your provident fund account.

Inoperative/Dormant EPF accounts

As per the recent notification by EPFO, even those accounts that remained idle from a couple of years will not be classified as inoperative. Since 2011, government had stopped paying interests to dormant accounts. However, with the new rule in place even the inoperative accounts too will start accruing interests at the rate of 8.8% per annum. The new reform will prove to be beneficial for around 10 crore workers in the country. Furthermore, it can be considered as a safe investment option as even the inoperative PF account will continue to accumulate interests till the time the employee retires from his job.

New EPF Withdrawal Forms

The new withdrawal forms released by EPFO allow one to withdraw his/her provident fund without getting approval from the employer. The newly released forms, Form 19 UAN, Form 10C UAN, and Form 31 UAN allows for final settlement and partial withdrawal without involving complex procedures and paperwork. Form 19 UAN is applicable in cases where an employee resigns from service or employer terminates the employment agreement. Form 10C UAN is used for making claims related to EPS and Form 31 is associated with partial withdrawals or advances. For EPF withdrawals using the newly released forms, the following conditions are necessary:

  • Employee should have a UAN number
  • He/she must have submitted Form 11 at the time of EPF application
  • Aadhaar card should be linked to UAN

People without UAN can apply for EPF withdrawal using the standard forms Form 19, Form 10C, and Form 31.

EPF Tax Exemption

As per the Budget notification of 2016-17, only interest accruing on 60% of the employee contributions towards EPF will be taxable. This is with effect from 1 April 20166. However, employees whose monthly income is below Rs.15,000 are exempted from tax.

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News About Employee Provident Fund

  • Employee Provident Fund Modifications Applicable from 2019

    The general tendency and popular belief is that people who have regular jobs cannot save from their monthly salaries as effectively as people from other groups of employment. With respect to that, it can be a safe bet to say that Employer’s Provident Fund (EPF) is the biggest source of savings and investment for them. However, the Government has decided that the existing financial institutions and banks will not be able to manage the provident fund accounts anymore. Reserve Bank of India recently released a new set of standards wherein it has been clearly mandated that the Banks will no longer function as asset management entities anymore.

    It has further been announced that these Banks will remain operable till the period of March 2019 after which a new set of fund managers will be appointed to each of the provident fund accounts. Savings through EPF is the most popular kind in India as the percentage of people having sedentary, office-going jobs is comparatively higher here.

    Therefore, it is also important that these PF accounts have a proper mechanism in place that will monitor and regularise their funds and the money. There are currently about 50 million users on the EPFO portal.

    13 December 2018

  • New Employees in Nagaland, Assam, and Meghalaya Can be Enrolled in the EPF without Aadhar

    Following the judgement passed by the Supreme Court, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided that new employees will not require Aadhar cards for enrollment to the scheme. This has been extended in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

    The EPFO has given permission to generate the Unique Account Number (UAN) without Aadhar verification for employees in these states. To generate the UAN, members from these states have the option of checking the option ‘member from North East region’ to proceed without Aadhar verification.

    2 November 2018

  • Sugarcane Laborers to get EPF & Insurance Benefits in Maharashtra

    Approximately 8 lakh sugarcane labourers in the state of Maharashtra may be provided with Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and insurance schemes. This was proposed by the state government recently. The labourers covered by this would be those engaged in the sugarcane industry, from the cutting and harvesting to the transporting stage. The state Labour Department officials stated that there were a total of 168 private and cooperative sugarcane factories in the state that employed more than 8 lakh workers. All of them would be provided with not just EPF benefits but also financial assistance for housing and education of children. They would also be covered under different insurance schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana. Since the majority of sugarcane workers are from Beed district, the new scheme will be implemented from an office in Parli, which is in Beed. An awareness drive would also be launched to get them to register.

    25 October 2018

  • EPF subscribers may get higher interest rates soon

    Subscribers to the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) may soon receive higher rates for their deposits. This follows a report by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization’s (EPFO) panel that advised long-term investments in stocks in order to provide higher returns for the funds of subscribers. The organization currently has Rs.40,000 crore invested in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). It sold Rs.2,886 crore worth of its investments in ETF in February 2018 and got a return of Rs.1,054 crore, which is approximately 16% earnings. By investing in equity-linked schemes over a period of 5 to 10 years, the panel hopes to generate more returns. This is all the more important given that interest rates were reduced to 8.55% in the last fiscal year from 8.65% in 2016-2017 and 8.8% in 2015-2016. The EPFO’s five-member panel consisted of the organization’s Chief Account Officer and Financial Advisor, HDFC’s CEO of mutual funds, and others. The report will be released next month.

    11 October 2018

  • 1.2 crore new subscribers have been added to EPF over the past 11 months

    Reports suggest that close to 1.2 crore new subscribers were added to EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) during the time period September 2017 to July 2018. The data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) suggest that amongst these members, the maximum number of enrollments were from the age group of 22 to 25 years. This accounted for 31.36 lakh enrollments. The total number of new subscribers during this period was 6.48 lakh.

    It was found that 14 lakh subscribers have restarted contributing money to EPF during this timeframe. 72 lakh accounts have also become inoperative during this time. This survey was the fourth amongst the employment statistics collected by the body.

    3 October 2018

  • Change of Rules in EPF Premature Withdrawal

    The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has changed the rules for premature withdrawal of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). The retirement body will now permit EPF members to withdraw up to 75% of the corpus if they remain unemployed for more than one month. The change in the rule was also confirmed by Labor Minister Santosh Gangwar in Parliament.

    The previous rule for complete withdrawal of the EPF corpus after 2 months of unemployment remains unchanged. The decision to permit 75% of the corpus to be withdrawn prematurely was made at the 222nd meeting held between the EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees (CBT) and the Labor Minister.

    30 July 2018

  • Government EPF Contribution Applicable for New Employees Registered Until March 2019

    As per the memorandum issued by the government in April, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution made by the employer would be entirely borne by the government through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). The contribution will be borne by the government for a period of 3 years and will be extended to both new employees and existing employees.

    The contribution is part of the government’s Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) and would be extended to all new employees who register under the EPFO before 31 March 2019. This change  was effective immediately. All existing EPF account holders and new EPF members who have a monthly salary up to Rs.15,000 can be covered under the PMRPY.

    24 July 2018

  • EPF Withdrawal for Purchase of Property

    One of the many occasions wherein one is allowed to withdraw his/her EPF saving partially is when he/she has a property under construction. However, there are certain preconditions to this. To be able to withdraw money from one’s Employee Provident Fund, one has to have worked for at least five years, i.e., one’s EPFO membership must have mandatorily subsisted for at least five years. The share of the member must stand at Rs.1,000. Further, the amount will only be disbursed if the title of the house belongs either to the member or his/her spouse. This infers that the property under construction has to be free from any encumbrances.

    23 July 2018

  • EPF Withdrawal Rules likely to change

    The interest rate offered for Public Provident Fund (PPF) and other small savings schemes is likely to go up. Industry experts are of the opinion that elections in states like Rajasthan, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, and the 2019 General Elections will lead to a hike in interest rates on such schemes.

    The recent hike in repo rate by the Reserve Bank and the increase in FD interest rates are also an indication of the trend that will be seen in small savings schemes.

    The interest rates on Employee Provident Fund (EPF) have been on the decline off late. From the basic salary of an employee, 12% is deducted on a standard basis and moved to his/her EPF account. A contribution of 12% is provided by the employer as well. The total fund in the EPF account of an employee is managed by the EPFO and the employee earns interest on it.

    EPFO has now proposed to introduce a cap on the funds that can be withdrawn by an employee from his/her EPF account prior to retirement. So, effectively, before retirement a subscriber can withdraw only the lowest of:

    • 60% of his/her savings, or
    • an amount that is equivalent to his/her salary for 3 months

    In case the subscriber is not employed for more than 3 months, he can withdraw the lowest of:

    • 80% of his/her total savings, or
    • an amount that is equivalent to his/her salary for 2 months

    28 June 2018

  • EPFO May Soon Permit Subscribers to Alter Proportion of Equity Investments

    The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) may soon allow Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) subscribers the option of investing in more of their EPF contribution in equity instruments and earn higher returns.

    The Labor Ministry has a meeting scheduled with the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) this week to put forth a proposal to increase the limit on equity investments. At present, the investment limit in equity investments is set at 15%. The National Pension Scheme, on the other hand, permits its subscribers the option of investing up to 75% in equity.

    A concern of the EPFO at the moment is more about the funds that would be invested in the Indian stock market at a time when the chances of trade wars seem very likely.

    26 June 2018

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