Retirement fund manager Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is aiming to achieve 100 percent registration of e-nominations to PF accounts where it is missing, and has underlined that it will be crucial for withdrawing EPF deposits for non-medical purposes.
At least 40 percent of the active EPF subscriber accounts are without nominations, and the pension fund body believes that this needs to be plugged on a priority.
Following a directive from the government, the EPFO has asked its 120-plus field offices to get into the job in a “mission mode” and asked employers to ensure e-nomination and have told them that it will be crucial while withdrawing the EPF corpus, at least three government officials have confirmed.
“As part of the initiative, EPFO is asking employers that except for medical related claims and COVID-19 advances, it is now a must to have nomination details before employees are allowed to withdraw the PF corpus for any other reasons,” a senior government official said.
“The aim is not to put any one in inconvenience, but improve the EPF user experience, reduce paper works, and make sure that all accounts are clean in terms of claimants when time arises,” said an EPFO official, requesting anonymity.
The second official said that as part of the 75 years celebration, the government has given EPFO a “mission mode” target to achieve 100 percent e-nomination. But how has been the response?
“Field offices are on the job and reaching out to the employers on a priority basis for the past few weeks. We are seeing some encouraging response from employers, but we must remember that in a democracy you get varied views,” said second official.
“We are not initiating any criminal proceedings. But filed offices have communicated that non-emergency withdrawals will happen after the nomination is embedded in the account. We believe that employers value the virtuous intention behind it and realise that it will be helpful for their employees in getting a seamless service,” a third government official said.
The official said that while e-nomination as a provision was there for the past couple of years, it has become a “mission mode objective” of the EPFO in the last eight weeks or so.
EPFO is the largest social security body and has an active subscribers’ base of around 60 million. It manages a corpus of over Rs 15 trillion directly or through exempted trusts or trusts that are managed by individual companies under the overarching regulation of the EPFO.
EPFO garners arounds Rs 1.8 trillion per annum as statutory deductions from organised sector workers. An EPF subscriber pays 12 percent of his basic wage as a monthly statutory contribution and the employer gives another 12 percent to the EPFO. Of the employer’s contribution, 8.33 percent goes to employee pension scheme and rest 3.67 percent goes to the EPF corpus.
Talking about the e-nomination, EPFO has said in a social media post that one should file e-nomination: “It helps in getting PF, pension (EPS) and insurance (EDLI) benefits easily on members death. It shall also facilitate a nominee to file online claims.” There is, however, a buzz that the EPFO website is not working in patches, and its server is slow, which is making it difficult to transact seamlessly.
Authorities said field offices of EPFO have witnessed problems of claim settlement during the ongoing pandemic, when families have struggled to arrange the right legal certificates in case of death of a EPFO subscriber seeking withdrawal claims from the retirement fund body.