Employees’ Provident Fund Organization or EPFO is one of the statutory bodies incepted by the Indian government. Being the country’s largest social security avenue, it majorly encourages individuals to save for their retirement among the rest. EPFO is placed under the confines of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, which was established in 1951.
Here, we will explore the EPFO role in boosting the Indian social security system and list channels through which you can go about doing this.
EPF and its applicability
Indian constitution under directive principles of the state policy mentions that the state shall make an effective provision to secure the right to education, work, and public assistance in case of old age, unemployment, disablement and sickness and undeserved want under the limits of the economic capacity.
In adherence to it, there was a requirement for a dynamic social security program in an evolving environment. Thus, provident fund legislation was formed as part of an attempt to cater a well-dignified life to the employees as well as their dependents once their period of employment comes to an end.
EPF came into existence with the EPF ordinance enactment in 1951. This ordinance was later replaced by the EPF funds act, 1952. EPF bill was brought in the parliament in the year 1952 to cater PF for the employees in the factories and various establishments. Law governing the EPF is now referred to as EPF and miscellaneous provision act. The act comes with its applicability all over the country except for Jammu & Kashmir.
The act and all the schemes usually are administered by a tripartite board known as EPF. Board comprises Government representatives (both state and central), employees and employers. Board is controlled by the Indian government and the Ministry of Employment and Labor. EPF Central Board of the trustees operates three major schemes.
∙ Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme of 1952, also known as EPF
∙ Employees’ Pension Scheme of 1995, also known as EPS
∙ Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme of 1976, also known as EDLI
EPFO is an avenue that is formed to help the Central Board of Trustees and is formed to help the EPF Central Board of Trustees and is particularly under the administrative control of the Employment and Labor Ministry, Indian government.
Crucial functions about EPFO
EPFO helps EPF Central Board of the Trustees in the administration of the provident fund scheme, insurance scheme and pension scheme for registered establishments and includes the employees like international workers and establishments who are covered.
Functioning of EPFO
∙ Enforcement of the Act throughout the country except for Jammu & Kashmir.
∙ Maintenance of the individual account
∙ Settlement of the claims
∙ Updating records
∙ Fund’s investment
∙ Ensuring a prompt pension payment
EPFO is even a nodal agency for the purpose of implementing the agreements of bilateral social security with other countries. Moreover, it is one of the biggest social security organizations, both in relation to the beneficiary base and quantum of the financial transaction undertaken.
Important services provided by the EPFO
UAN (Universal account number)
EPFO came up with UAN, which serves as an umbrella for various UAN passbook login IDs allotted to the individual by distinct employers. The UAN programme started in October 2014 as part of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakaram. This is also one of the most exceptional measures taken by the EPFO in the recent past.
UAN in your EPFO passbook comes with a 12-digit unique number assigned to employees by the EPFO. UAN allows linking of various EPF accounts allotted to single members. Employees must activate their UAN at the UAN portal to avail themselves of a huge range of services like EPFO passbook etc., provided by the EPFO.
UAN portal provides a wide range of services, like dynamically updated EPF passbook, UAN card, facility to link the previous member identities with current identity, SMS regarding credit of contributions in PF account and facility for the auto triggering transfer request on employment change.
UAN member e-Seva for the employees
Uan e-Sewa portal permits the employees to register their UAN in the portal and activate this to access the offered service by the portal. Facilities available are updating KYC info, downloading UAN cards, receiving EPFO passbooks, raising transfer requests and others.
Inoperative accounts helpdesk
Inoperative accounts’ online helpdesk on the EPFO site was launched in the year 2015, which has made tracking of the dormant inoperative EPFO accounts simple. This assists EPF members to track their inoperative PF accounts, settle all of them or get them transferred to the current account by giving base minimum details like previous employment, along with the personal details.
Online EPF transfer
While EPF transfer was earlier possible under the online transfer claim portal, with UAN introduction, the transfer process is revised as well as shifted as per the unified portal. It has made the EPF transfer from one to another simple, paper-free and even hassle-free.
Online provident fund withdrawal
An employee is permitted to withdraw the provident fund if not employed for sixty days after resigning from the precursory employment. EPFO has allowed online EPF withdrawal with the easy process for UANs linked with the Aadhaar.
Online registration of the establishments (OLRE)
Has made the registration of the establishment with the EPFO web-based. The provident fund code allotment letter is even made available online, which benefits the rising number of employees.
PF payments online
Remember, it is compulsory for all establishments to make the EPF payment online. EPFO has a tie-up arrangement with a few of the financial institutions to collect the EPFO dues wherein the participating banks are Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Axis Bank.
Centralized software for the generation of coverage for international workers’ certificate
EPFO came up with an online form through the centralized system to generate COC or certificate of coverage to EPF members working in the countries having social security agreements.
SMS alerts/service and missed call service
SMS service & missed call services were introduced to endow better accessibility to EPF accounts to EPF members who activated their UAN. Members can simply access the details of the KYC status overall EPF balance, last contributing by sending SMS in the format of EPFOHO UAN, which is followed by the first 3 characters of the preferred language to the number 77382996899.