In a repeated relief measure announced by the government, further withdrawals from EPFO are being allowed to counter the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government first decided to enable lump-sum withdrawal during the pandemic to counter the financial difficulties in March 2020 as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), a COVID-19 relief program.
Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has allowed contributors to withdraw a non-refundable deposit from their savings under COVID-19 relief measures. This is the second time the EPFO has approved such an aid measure due to the ongoing crisis.
How much PF can be withdrawn, and from where can the aid be availed?
Whether employed or self-submitters, Provident Fund subscribers can take out non-refundable amounts from dearness allowances and basic wages for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount payable to employee credit. EPF members may request a lower amount than stated in the plan.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment informed that EPFO has settled more than 76.31 million COVID-19 advances and paid Rs 18,698.15 crore.
To process and access complaints, EPFO has implemented an automated grievance process controlled by the e-system. EPFO’s eligible Know Your Customer (KYC) members can request instant withdrawal of their funds. EPFO can reduce the claims settlement cycle to just three days with the automatic payment method as against the legal obligation to settle claims within 20 days.
Aadhaar Mandatory for PF under New EPFO COVID 19 Relief Rules
The ministry has mandated that the Aadhaar number be provided by employees and unorganised sector workers who wish to register, receive benefits or wait for payment under various schemes as per section 142 of the Social Security Code 2020.
Aadhaar is also required for non-organised sector labour organisation databases, including migrant workers. However, the agency did not rule out providing services under various social security schemes if Aadhaar was not submitted.
EPFO has notified employers that from 1st June, if PF accounts are not linked to Aadhaar, then the ECR (electronic challan-cum-return) will not be filled. Employees can still contribute to their PF account, but they will not deposit their employer’s share.
Who Will Benefit from the latest EPFO updates?
EPFO services can be used by any person employed by EPF registered organisations or by private and independent PF depositors who pay the amount themselves. This facility is mainly for those people whose monthly salary is less than Rs. 15,000. Official figures show that EPFO has approved over 7.63 million COVID-19 down payment claims and has paid a total of Rs. 18,698.15 crores since the facility became available.
High demand and expected figures suggest that rising costs have also resulted in heavy losses to workers, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. This new move will benefit the people of India who are now financially affected by COVID.