EPFO unified member portal is one of the prudent platforms managed by the Indian government that promotes savings for salaried employed in service sectors. Under this program, the employee must pay a specific amount of funds towards this scheme. The employer even contributes an equal amount and interest is provided on both the employer’s and employee’s contribution. There is little info regarding the EPF (employee provident fund) and its services. Employees have confusion regarding the contribution, withdrawal options and interest constituent earned under the EPF program. Let’s understand a few basics linked with the EPF scheme.
UAN (Universal Account Number) is the unique number allotted to every EPFO member. Member IDs are allotted to employees by distinct establishments for which you have worked and are attached to your UAN. This facility assists the employee to check all the member IDs in a single place. When you as an employee join a new enterprise, you must provide a UAN to your new employer so that your new provident fund account gets linked with your UAN. This will assist in withdrawing funds as well as transferring provident fund accounts easily.
Both employer and employee contributions towards the employee provident fund (EPF) program equally. The employee pays 12 per cent of the combined overall of basic pay, retaining allowance and dearness allowance. Here, just a part of the employer’s contribution is provided in the EPF account while 8.33 per cent of the employer’s contribution gets directed to the EPS (Employees’ Pension Scheme). This specific rate is applied for establishments with over 20 employees. In the case employee works in an organization with below 20 employees, both parties’ contributions must be 10 per cent.
EPF rate of interest
The rate of interest provided by the EPFO to the employees is presently 8.10 per cent for the financial year 2021-22. The Ministry of Labour & Employment has lowered the rate of interest for the current fiscal by 40 bps (basis point). The Labour and Employment Ministry analyses the scenario and determines the rate of interest offered to the members for the upcoming financial year. Interest is computed based on the employee’s monthly running balance.
EPF auto transfer
When the employee changes jobs, the new organization opens a new provident fund account for the employee. The employee must next transfer the fund from the previous EPF account to the current one. For this, you must fill out form 13.
EPFO has eased this method of opting for different services by the EPF members. You can simply sign in to your EPF account using your UAN to make the most of various services like your EPF withdrawal fund or account transfer, balance enquiry, KYC updating, etc. The employee must register on the EPFO member portal initially using the UAN and build a passcode. You can then log in to your account to avail of online services. All the online services are totally free, and you can access them any time of the day through any device. However, it is important for you to submit your Aadhaar and PAN before placing an application for the online withdrawal or claim.
EPFO now allows you to claim your funds from the provident fund account through online mode. According to the latest rules, it is mandatory now for all of you to file claims through an online medium when the withdrawal amount is over Rs 10 lakh. Amounts below Rs 10 lakh can be claimed easily through offline and online routes. To file claims online, you as a member must first get the KYC documents digitally signed by the designated authorities. You can place an application for withdrawal by filling out forms i.e., 31, 10 C and 19.
Opting for the EPF services through the UMANG app
The government has designed provisions for the employees to get different services linked with EPFO via the UMANG app. The app offers both employer-centric services and employee-centric services. Various other services like locating establishments, tracking claim status, EPFO offices, account details through SMS, etc. can even be availed through the UMANG app. In the situation you have any important query, you can opt for the live chat option facility using this app. You can even seed your Aadhaar number with your UAN using the app.
Paperless company registration
Organizations or enterprises with 20 or more staff or employees fall under EPFO supervision. To open your account, Form 5A hard copy is a must along with the required documents. Note that this system was applicable in the case of a change in establishment ownership. However now, employers can simply update form 5A through the online route after e-signing the same. This further lowers the excessive documentation and paperwork and your requirement to visit the EPFO office.
Integration of the centralized payment system
EPFO has integrated the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) payment route with an interface. This step ensures that the procedure of fund transfer is more convenient and transaction fee too come down. Also, the EPFO may on the same day transfer the funds to the beneficiaries.
Employees’ provident fund advances
The basic aim of EPF is to offer substantial money to the employee during retirement time. However, EPFO permits you to withdraw the funds before retirement too. Such withdrawn amount is called EPF advances. The fund may be withdrawn based on specific reasons like purchasing a new home, medical requirements, repaying your mortgage, for children’s marriage or higher education.
Funds that would be processed and disbursed are based on certain criteria like the number of service years, etc. It is certainly not necessary to pay back the amount withdrawn. In case you have seeded your PAN and Aadhaar with your UAN, you may fill out the form online at the EPF member platform and withdraw your fund without the requirement to take any approval from your concerned employer.
Since EPFO establishment, the system of parking funds for post-retirement years is a highly acceptable and prudent route for many. What is best is that in case of specific financial emergencies, you get the option to withdraw your fund from your EPF account.