What is the EPF Scheme?

Employees Provident Fund Scheme (EPFS) is a long-term retirement saving scheme managed by Employees provident fund organization (EPFO) and it is covered under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

Under EPF Scheme, an employee and employer have to pay certain percentage of equal contribution in the provident fund account and on retirement, an employee gets a lump sum amount of contribution made by employer and employee with interest on both.

EPF Scheme extends to the whole territory of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

What is the objective of EPF Scheme?

  • EPF Scheme is implemented to help the government, public or private sector employees financially by providing a lump sum amount on their retirement or separation from their job by managing provident fund of them.
  • It helps in providing social security to the members of the scheme.

To whom the EPF Scheme is applicable?

This scheme is applicable to every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed other than excluded employees and in certain cases organisation employing less than 20 persons are also covered, subject to certain conditions and exceptions.

However, excluded employees can also become the member of EPF Scheme, if the Assistant PF Commissioner granted permission to them. 

Here, “excluded employees” means employees drawing wages exceeding INR 15,000 per month.

What are the eligibility criteria for registration under EPF Scheme?

Every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed other than excluded employees shall get registered under the Scheme within one month from the date of its applicability.

What is Universal Account Number (UAN)?

  • Universal Account Number (UAN) has been made mandatory for all individuals covered under the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. 
  • UAN is a 12-digit number allotted by EPFO to every employee to whom EPF Scheme is applicable. 
  • An employee is supposed to have a single UAN
  • The UAN will show both the PF numbers, the previous employer's as well as that of the new employer, linked to it. The UAN, therefore, acts as an umbrella for multiple member IDs allotted to the individual by different employers. 
  • It is a one-time permanent number which will remain the same throughout one's career.
  • When you join a new organisation, the first thing you should do is ask your employer for the ‘New Form No. 11- Declaration Form’ to furnish the existing UAN. If you don’t have one, then just give your previous PF number along with the date of exit from your previous job. 

What is Contribution under the EPF Scheme?

S.no Number of Employees Contribution
1 More than 20 Employees 12%
2 Less than 20 Employees 10%

Here “percentage of contribution” is calculated on basic wages plus dearness allowance plus retaining allowance.

What is the breakup of employers’ and employees’ contribution?

The Breakup of employers’ contribution shall be as follows

S.no Contribution by Employees’ Pension Scheme Employees Provident Fund Scheme Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme
1 Employer – 12% 8.33% – 3.67 % 0.5 %
2 Employee – 12% 0 0 0

What is Interest on EPF?

  • Interest is an additional amount given to employees every month on contribution of PF.
  • Interest in EPF is calculated on the basis of monthly running balance on the EPF Account.
  • The EPF interest rates are declared annually by the central government.
  • EPF interest rate revised for FY18-19 is 8.65%.

When can an amount of PF be withdrawn from PF Account?

As per the rules of the EPF Scheme 1952, withdrawal of PF amount can be done fully or partially depend on the conditions as follows:  

Post Retirement

When an individual retires from employment after attaining the pre- determined retirement age i.e. 55 years, he can withdraw the entire amount of EPF which includes employer’s and employee’s contribution along with the interest earned.

Unemployment

  1. EPFO subscribers have an option to withdraw their PF in two parts;
    • 75% of fund after the completion of one month of unemployment, and
    • 25% can be transferred to a new EPF account after gaining new employment. 
  2. They can also withdraw their PF contribution directly after two months of unemployment and settle the account in one go. A subscriber can withdraw full PF amount and the interest earned over it. 
  3. One is also allowed to withdraw the EPS amount if the service period has been less than 10 years and not later on. 
  4. The employee compulsorily gets pension benefits after retirement, if he withdraws any time after 10 years of service.
  5. After 2 months of unemployment, PF can be withdrawn fully.

What are the forms and register to be maintained under the EPF Scheme?

Forms and registers to be maintained are as follows:

S.no Forms Description
1 Form 2 Declaration by persons already employed at the time of institution of the Fund/Nomination
2 Form 3 / 3A Preparation of Contribution Cards
3 Form 5 Details of employees qualifying to become members of the Fund for the first time during the preceding month
4 Form 5 Return of employees qualifying for membership
5 Form 5A Particulars of ownership by employer
6 Form 6A Consolidated annual Contribution Statement
7 Form 10 Return of members leaving service during the month
8 Form 11 Declaration by person taking up employment in organization
9 Form 12A Statement of contribution
10 Form 13 Application for transfer of EPF account
11 Form 19 Form for claiming PF dues
12 Form - 20, 10-D,5IF Composite claim form in case of death
13 Form-10C For Claiming refund of employers share, withdrawal benefit, scheme certificate

What are the duties of Employer?

Employers are responsible for the following under the EPF Scheme:

  • Filing of monthly return in electronic form in ECR format on or before the due date.
  • Submission of the particulars related employees joining or leaving the service and nomination form in the prescribed form and manner.
  • Submission of Aadhar card and other KYC related document of there employees who become the member of EPF Scheme.

What are the rights of Employer?

The Employer can have the following rights under EPF Scheme:

  • Ask for identity card from the visiting enforcement officer.
  • Right to get the Business Number (PF Code No.) allotted for complying with the provision of the scheme.
  • Approach EPFO for seeking clarification or guidance on PF related matters.
  • Avail online services for filing returns and remitting the contribution.
  • Right to meet the officer in charge.
  • To have at least one relationship officer in each field.

What are the duties of Employees, who are member of EPF Scheme?

Employees who are a member of the EPF Scheme are responsible for the matters as given under:

  • Submission of his/her UAN with declaration regarding membership of fund immediately after joining an establishment to the employer.
  • Submission of the nomination form for EPF to an employer in Form 2.
  • Submission of Aadhar card and KYC related document correctly.

What are the rights of Employees, who are member of EPF Scheme?

Employees who are a member of the EPF Scheme have the following rights:

  • obtain claim form free of cost.
  • obtain guidance in filing forms.
  • right of the partial/final withdrawal from the provident fund.
  • register their grievance and get it redressed within 15 days.
  • right to obtain UAN from EPFO.
  • right to receive a monthly payment of Pension.
  • right to get transferred their accumulated fund to their new account.

What is the statutory compliance requirement on the part of the Employer?

There are certain obligations or the compliances on the part of the Employer which they are supposed to comply to, if not, they could be subjected to certain offences or penalties provided in the act. 

Several compliances that need to be followed are:

  • Establishment of Board of trustees for the management of PF.
  • Transfer of PF to the Board of Trustees from time to time by the 15th of each month following the month for which the contributions are payable.
  • Bear all administration expenses of the Provident Fund.
  • Display on the notice board of the establishment, a copy of the rules of the funds as approved by the appropriate authority and as and when amended thereto along with a translation in the language of the majority of the employees.
  • Settlement of claims of PF on time.

What is the redressal mechanism for grievances related to EPF?

Every employee can contact additional central PF commissioner for grievances related to PF through the online portal by lodging complaint at www.epfigms.gov.in or offline registered address additional central PF commissioner, EPFO, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14 Bhikaiji Cama Palace, New Delhi – 110066.

The authority will redress the grievance within 15 days of a complaint lodged.

What are the Offences and penalties under the EPF Scheme?

  • The false representation or statement to avoid payment of PF - punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine of Rs. 5000 or with both.
  • Contravention of the provisions related to payment of inspection/ administration charges - punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.
  • Default in payment of employees’ contribution which has been deducted from employees’ wages - punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year and with fine of Rs. 10000.
  • In any other cases - punishable with imprisonment of not less than 6 months and with fine of Rs. 5000.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Who is excluded from the EPF Scheme?

Employees drawing wages exceeding INR 15,000 per month are excluded from EPF Scheme.

Can employers’ contribution be deducted from the wages of employees’ or not?

No, it is a criminal offence. An employer cannot, in any case, deduct the amount of contribution from the wages of employees’ which he is liable to pay under the scheme.

Whether PF amount can be taken as an attachment for payment of any liability?

No, attachment of PF for payment of any liability by the court in its decree is prohibited.

If the nomination is not made by the employees’, then how the PF of a deceased member is paid?

In absence of nomination, PF amount will be equally distributed to the family members and in absence of the family member, to the person legally entitled for it.

Can pension be paid to the pensioner anywhere in the country?

Yes, Pension amount can be received from anywhere in the country.

How can I know the status of my UAN?

You can check your UAN status at https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in.

If employees are sent to abroad for working for certain period, can they contribute to EPF in India?

Yes, they can contribute to EPF in India subject to a certain condition if India entered into Social Security agreement with that country.

Which forms are needed to be filled with EPFO for Withdrawal of EPF?

The Composite Claim form shall be filled for the final withdrawal of PF amount.

In case of withdrawal of PF amount, Am I liable for payment of TDS?

In case of withdrawal of PF amount, if employer has not served 5 years of continuous service and the accumulated amount is more than Rs. 50,000, then the member shall be liable for payment of TDS as per the prescribed rate. 

Is Interest on EPF taxable?

No, Interest on EPF is exempted from tax, as EPF is deducted from Income while calculating tax of individuals.