Rules for relaxation in withdrawal criteria from EPF accounts notified

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The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) subscribers will be able to apply for the withdrawal online and the facility would be available to all members across the country, a senior EPFO official said.

The Labour and Employment Ministry has notified amendments to the Employees’ Provident Funds Scheme to bring into effect the relaxation in conditions to allow withdrawal not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to a member’s credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, in the wake of outbreak of epidemic or pandemic. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) subscribers will be able to apply for the withdrawal online and the facility would be available to all members across the country, a senior EPFO official said.

“The Commissioner or, where so authorised by the Commissioner, any officer subordinate to him, may, on an application from any member of this Scheme employed in any establishment or factory located in an area declared as affected by outbreak of any epidemic or pandemic by the appropriate government, permit a non-refundable advance from the provident fund account of such member not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowances of that member for three months or up to seventy-five per cent of the amount standing to his credit in the Fund, whichever is less,” the Ministry’s notification said.

In a communication to field offices, EPFO has said officers should be made aware about changes so that such claims are “processed promptly and relief reaches the worker and his family to help them fight with COVID-19”.

“Please note that the COVID-19 has been declared pandemic by appropriate government for the entire country and therefore the employees working in establishments and factories across entire India, who are members of the EPF Scheme, 1952, are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance ... ,” the communication said.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman — as part of the government’s financial package to counter the COVID-19 outbreak — had announced measures for a section of organised workers by bearing the outgo on contribution of 24 per cent for establishments having up to 100 workers with 90 per cent having income below Rs 15,000 and relaxing withdrawal conditions from EPF accounts.