The EPF scheme is an initiative by the Indian government to ensure working Indians have a lump sum saved at the time of retirement. The welfare measure is one where both the employer and the employee contribute an equal share towards the fund, which can be withdrawn upon retirement/partially for certain expenses.
It is obligatory on the part of the employer to deposit the PF amount in the fund on an yearly basis. However there are times when unscrupulous employers either do not deposit this amount or do it at their leisure, creating problems for the employee when he has to withdraw the sum/if he wishes to transfer it on changing his job/at retirement.
First and foremost, you should be aware of how your EPF is deposited by your employer. The money is remitted to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner’s account, or your employer can set up an EPF trust and invest in securities so as to receive the fixed interest payable.
As an employee, what steps can you take to ensure your employer is depositing your hard-earned money in the fund? Given below are some helpful tips.
- If you are unsure if your employer is depositing the money in the account, it is always prudent to first check for yourself whether this is the case. There could be occasions where delays might crop up.
- Each month, your employer is obliged to communicate to the Employee Provident Fund Office (EPFO) in the case of employees who have recently joined, left, new members and furnish information on the amount deducted from employees’ salary. You can request your employer to furnish you with the details or a photocopy of these documents to ascertain if money is being deposited in the PF account.
- You could also file an RTI (Right to Information) application against the EPFO and request them to furnish details on whether your employer has been making contributions to the EPF. You would have to provide your EPF account number as well as your assigned employee code when filing the application.
Employers who deduct money from employees’ salary and do not deposit it in the EPF are committing a criminal offence and are liable for prosecution. If you have proof your employer has been indulging in this, you can take legal recourse. The steps you can take are mentioned below:
- Lodge a complaint with the ERPO: You can bring the case to the notice of the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at the ERPO, detailing the offence committed by your employer. The CVO would in turn initiate proceedings against your employer.
- File a complaint with the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (RPFC): You could take the matter to the RPFC, who would be obliged to look into the matter and ensure you receive your money.
- Lodge a police complaint: Since your employer has committed a crime under the Indian Penal Code, you could also file a police complaint against him. You would have to provide your salary slip detailing the PF deduction to the police station under whose jurisdiction your workplace is located.
It is always a good idea to check if your employer is making deposits on your behalf in the EPF. In the event he/she is not, you can immediately take recourse to legal action or bring it to the notice of the ERPO to avoid hassle at a later stage.