Center For Workers Education

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PF Withdrawal Rules, Processes and Problems

PF Withdrawal Rules, Processes and Problems (India)
Surendra Pratap, Center for Workers Education, New Delhi, 2016 (A Study Conducted for Fair Wear Foundation)
pf-withdrawal-rules-processes-and-problems-_india_
The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a savings instrument that comprises contribution of 12% of employee’s basic salary made by both employer and the employee every month. The workers contribution goes completely in PF fund, while only 3.67% employers’ contribution goes in PF fund and the rest 8.33% becomes part of a pension fund.
Implementation of the EPF Act is administered by Central Board of Trustees of EPF and Regional Boards. The Central Board is consists of a Chairman, a Vice Chairman, 5 Central Government Representatives, 15 State Government Representatives, 10 Employees’ Representatives, 10 Employers’ Representatives with Central P.F Commissioner and the Member Secretary to the Board. The regional Boards are also constituted accordingly.
A. The Rules for EPF Withdrawal after Leaving the Job
1. If the age is below 50 years and the employee has not completed 10 years of eligible service (Most of the workers fall under this)
a) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
b) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. In this case he/she has not completed 10 years of eligible service and therefore he/she can apply for withdrawal of pension fund as well. However, if there is a chance of getting new job, it is not advisable to withdraw this fund, as if s/he is able to complete 10 years of eligible service s/he may get the benefits of Employees Pension Scheme
2. If the age is below 50 years and the employee has completed 10 years of eligible service (10 years contribution in EPF in aggregate, the breaks does not matter )
c) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
d) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. Therefore, after completion of 10 years of eligible service the workers cannot apply for withdrawal of this part of EPF. However, they need to apply for Employees Pension Scheme certificate
Note: This is one of the reasons why many workers want to withdraw their PF before completion of 10 years. On the one hand, there is no awareness about the benefits of pension scheme and on the other hand they want total money at one go to start a new livelihood). Moreover, there is a possibility that the new pension scheme may be extended to industrial workers as well and in that case many benefits of the current pension scheme may be lost (however, this is only a rumor because even if it is made applicable, then also with all possibility it may not affect existing members).
3. If age is between 50-58 years and the employee has not completed 10 years of eligible service
e) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
f) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. In this case 10 years of eligible service is not completed but s/he is within the age group of 50-58 years (nearing a retirement age) In this situation, the employees have both the options-s/he can apply for withdrawal of pension fund or for Employees Pension Scheme certificate
4. If the age is between 50-58 years and the employee has completed 10 years of eligible service
a) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
b) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. In this case 10 years of eligible service is completed but s/he is still within the age group of 50-58 years (not a retirement age). In this situation, s/he can not apply for withdrawal of pension fund but s/he has option to apply for Employees Pension Scheme certificate or reduced pension. Under employees pension certificate the pension starts after attaining retirement age i.e. after 58 years, but under reduced pension scheme the pension can be started before retirement age with the same accumulated pension fund and therefore the amount of monthly pension may get reduced.
5. If the age is over 58 years but the employee has not completed 10 years of eligible service
a) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
b) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. In this case 10 years of eligible service is not completed and therefore s/he can apply for withdrawal of pension fund. (It is not clear, but there is no logic why the option of reduced pension is not given in this case)
6. If the age is over 58 years and the employee has completed 10 years of eligible service
a) The employee can apply for final settlement of his PF after a waiting period of 2 months, in case he/she has no job and by giving a written submission regarding the same. It is good to apply before 36 months of leaving the last job, as after 36 months the account is considered in-operational and no further interest is added in the amount
b) One part of EPF contributions goes to pension fund and after completion of 10 years of eligible service this fund is locked. In this case 10 years of eligible service is completed and s/he has also attained the retirement age and therefore s/he can apply for starting the pension
Benefits of Existing Employees Pension Scheme under EPF
The employees’ pension scheme is completely govern by the government. The government of India also contributes 1.16% of workers’ basic pay in to this pension. This is a guaranteed pension plan and the amount of pension is calculated on the basis of formula: Pensionable salary (Average salary) * Pensionable service)/70.
Employees’ pension scheme is a family pension. After the demise of an employee, the wife also gets reduced pension. Two children can also get the pension till the age of 25 years. There is no minimum limit of service for the family pension (but with reduced length of service the pension amount may get reduced. On the death of a pensioner, the pension is automatically payable to the spouse (widow / widower). If the member is not married the nominee gets the pension till the death. A Child with the permanent disability gets the pension till the death. Pension can be drawn from anywhere in India.
The Recent Government Initiatives to change the EPF Rules
1. In the Budget 2016-17 the government proposed to impose an income tax on PF withdrawals. However due to opposition from trade unions this was rolled back. Finally, only the interest accruing after April 1 on 60 per cent of the contributions made to Employee Provident Fund is made taxable.
“Clearing the air on taxing provident fund withdrawals, the government on Tuesday said PPF withdrawals will continue to be fully exempt from tax and only interest accruing after April 1 on 60 per cent of the contributions made to Employee Provident Fund will be taxed. All contributions and interest accrued to employee provident fund (EPF) before April 1, 2016, will not attract any tax on withdrawal. Withdrawal of principal amount contributed to EPF after April 1 would also remain exempt from any tax. It is only the interest on contributions made after April 1, 2016 which will be taxed, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told PTI in an interview here. “There is no change in the status of public provident fund (PPF). EEE (tax exempt at the time of contribution, tax exempt on returns and tax exempt on withdrawals) scheme will continue for PPF,” he said. “There is no 40 per cent limit on PPF. It will be 100 per cent exempt”.

  1. The ministry of Labour and Employment changed the PF withdrawal rules by a notification date 10th February 2016 with following effects:
    Targeted aspects of PF Law Old Rules New Rules
    PF withdrawal after leaving the job Provision for withdraw full EPF corpus after a waiting period of 2 months on a conditions that s/he remains unemployed In the same conditions, workers can withdraw only their part of contribution. Employer’s contribution with interest was to be locked till the age of 57 years
    Retirement Age 55 years was minimum age for Full EPF withdrawal Min age increased to 58 years for full EPF withdrawal
    Increase in age-limit for 90% withdrawal Withdrawal of 90% of PF corpus was allowed in the age of 54 years Minimum age for this was increased to 57 years
    Continuity of PF membership PF membership ended after leaving the job and after withdrawal of total PF balance PF membership to continue even after leaving the job as s/he may not be able to withdraw complete before the age of 57
    Source: MINISTRY OF LABUOR AND EMPLOYMENT NOTIFICATION 10th February, 2016; http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Circulars/Y2015-2016/Coord_Amend_Para68_40761.pdf

There were strong protests against the above notification across the country and it was interesting to note that the protests particularly specifically intense in the garment industry and became violent in particularly in Karnataka and specifically in Bangalore . It is worth mentioning that in Bangalore the demonstrations also became violent and many workers were arrested and criminal cases were filed against them; and on May Day in 2016 big demonstrations and rallies were organized by trade unions demanding to withdraw all such cases filed against the workers.
There are important reasons for this. The garment industry in India is emerging as a major employment generating sector in manufacturing and in recent years it was one of the major industries contributing significant positive employment growth. The majority of garment workers are covered under the PF (however, significant proportion are engaged as unreported workers and denied all social security benefits). But the working conditions in the garment industry are such that wages are very low (rarely go beyond minimum wage) and they are frequently hired and fired. The majority of workers are hired and fired (or discontinued and rehired) every 6-7 months with some period of unemployment every year. Rarely any worker is able to complete 5 years of continuous service that is eligibility criteria for gratuity payment. In these situations, with very low wages, with intermittent periods of employment and unemployment, the workers prefer the withdrawal of PF when they are fired in order to meet the routine expenses of life and particularly to meet such expenses like marriage, construction/repair of house back home etc. Many times the workers also prefer to go back home after having significant accumulated fund to create some alternative livelihood as they know well that they may not be able to work beyond certain age and then they may be compelled to go back home where they at least possess their own hose, if not any livelihood. It were these conditions that compelled the workers to articulate this change in PF rules as a kind of survival crisis and in the absence of any significant presence of unions in the industry they spontaneously and abruptly jumped on the streets. It came as a surprise to the trade unions: “senior leaders of central unions affiliated to political organisations said they were surprised at the extent of the workers’ resistance to the change in Provident Fund withdrawal norms. Local union leaders also said that they were unable to explain how the protests swiftly engulfed the area, and gained intensity.”
The reason behind the large scale and violent protests in Bangalore in comparison to other reasons was probably due to the fact that:
a) The garment industry in Bangalore is dominated by large scale units. The factories with 1000 and more workers are particularly concentrated in south. These large size factories account for 31.43 % of garment industry employment in Andhra Pradesh, 28.19% in Karnataka and 26.6 % in Tamil Nadu; while in other states it is almost zero, except in Uttar Pradesh where it is 9.1%. And in Bangalore this percentage is probably even higher. It is generally found that the regions with domination of larger units the legal compliances and formal systems are stronger and it has a percolating effect in the small units as well. And this has an empowering impact on workers. On the other hand, in the regions with domination of smaller units legal compliances and formal systems are weaker and this has percolating impact in larger units as well. And this has disempowering impact on workers
b) Trade union activity in general is weak in garment industry, but with in this limit, Bangalore garment industry has relatively better presence of union activity (not in terms of shop floor unions but federations, as typical to existing conditions of garment industry). An ILO study reveals that among the union representatives interviewed, union membership was about 4,000 with outreach to 10-20,000 workers in the north, while the union membership was about 7-8,000 with an outreach to 700,000 RMG workers in Bangalore (membership of around 6,000 workers (85-90% women) with outreach to more than 50,000 also in the south).
Due to strong protests from workers, the government was finally compelled to withdraw the above notification and the was not able to change the rules.
3. The new Changes Proposed: In last week of June 2016, the Union Cabinet approved Rs 6,000-crore package for the textile and apparel sectors along with introducing some labour law changes for this which may later be extended to other sectors as well. These changes include certain changes in PF rules as well. According to these changes, the EPF contribution for textile industry workers earning less than Rs 15,000 a month is made optional. Moreover, for those choosing for EPF scheme, the employers are given relaxation and the government will pay the entire 12 per cent employer’s contribution for new garment industry employees for their first three years of employment. Already, at present, 8.33 per cent of the employer’s contribution is being provided by the government under the Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY). The textiles ministry will provide the additional 3.67 per cent of the employer’s contribution. Along with this, limits of overtime is increased to 8 hours per week and 90 hours over three months from the Current limit of 50 hours in three months. The employers are also allowed to engage workers on fixed-term employment. Fixed term workman will be considered on a par with a permanent workman in terms of working hours, wages, allowances and other statutory dues. The current provision of the benefits accruing if workers are hired for 240 days is changed to 150 days. Along with this, the text refers the garment industry as seasonal which may have its own implications. The trade unions are protesting against the changes in law proposed by the government.

B. Rules for Partial PF Withdrawal while within the Job
Partial withdrawal of PF is allowed while in job, in certain well defined cases like marriage, children’s education, purchase and repair of house etc. Eligibility and limits of this withdrawal is defined in Table1.However, the maximum aggregate withdrawal can’t exceed 50 per cent of the total contributions made by the workers and withdrawal can be made only thrice during a worker’s total service tenure.
Table 1: Eligibility and Limits for Partial Withdrawal of PF
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
The purchase of site for construction of house 5 Years of membership of the Fund
* The purchase should be in favour of member or member & spouse.
24 months wages (Basic & DA)

OR
Member’s own share of contribution + Company’s share of Contribution with interest thereon No.31 and Decelartion Form, Bank Deails of Seller A declaration from the member that, dwelling site or dwelling house/flat or the house under construction is free from encumberances and the same is under the title of the member or the spouse (notification dated 25.2.2000)
The Construction of House 5 Years of membership of the Fund

  • The purchase should be in favour of member or member & spouse. 36 months wages (Basic+DA)
    OR
    Members own share of contribution + Company’s share of contribution with interest thereon No.31 and Decelartion Form, Bank Deails of Seller Same as above Photocopy of the plan approved by the collectors office or Municipal Corporation or the local Bodies as the case may be.

The purchase of dwelling flat 5 Year of membership of the Fund

  • The purchase should be in favour of member or member & spouse. 36 months wages (Basic+DA)
    OR
    Members own share of contribution + Company’s share of contribution with interest thereon
    No.31 and Decelartion Form, Bank Deails of Seller A declaration from the member that, dwelling site or dwelling house/flat or the house under construction is free from encumberances and the same is under the title of the member or the spouse (notification dated 25.2.2000)
    Additions, Alterations or improvements to the dwelling house 5 years from the date of completion of dwelling house 12 months basic or members own share of contribution with thereon. No.31 and Decelartion Form

    68 BB : REPAYMENT OF LOAN

Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
Advance from the fund for repayment of loan 10 years membership of the fund & member should have taken loan from Govt. Body 36 month wages (Basic + DA)
OR
Members own share of Contribution + Company’s share of Contribution with interest thereon. No.31 A certificate from the lending authority furnishing the details of loan and outstanding amount if they are ready to accept premature payment. Payment shall be relese to Bank Only
68 J : ADVANCE FROM FUND FOR ILLNESS
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
Advance from the fund for illness viz. hospitalisation for more than a month, major surgical operation or suffering from TB, Leprosy, Paralysis, Cancer, Heart ailment etc. Stay in Hospital at least for a month 6 moths wages (Basic + DA) No.31 A certificate from the Medical Practitioner for hospitalisation or operation. In case serious diseases of the specialist.
68 K : ADVANCE FROM THE FUND FOR MARRIAGE
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
Advance from the fund for Marriage of self/son/daughter/ sister/brother etc.
Advance from the fund for education of Son/Daughter 7 years membership of the fund 50% of member’s own share of contribution No.31 Declaration by the member which is attested by the employer. Certificate from the Institution regarding the course of study and anticipated expenditure
68L : ADVANCE IN ABNORMAL CONDITIONS
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
Grant of advance in abnormal conditions, Natural calamities etc. Certificate of damage from appropriate authority.
State Govt. declaration. 50% of member’s own share of contribution (To apply within 4 months) No.31 Certificate from the Appropriate Authority./ Certificate from the State Govt.
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
68 N : GRANT OF ADVANCE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
Types of Benefit Eligibility Eligible Amount Form Documentary Support
To Physically Handicapped member for purchase of an equipment required to minimize the hardship on account of handicap. Production of medical certificate from a competent medical practitioner to the effect that he is physically handicapped Basic wages+ DA for six months

OR own share of contribution with interest or cost of equipment whichever is least. No.31 Certificate from the Medical practitioner to the effect that the member is physically handicapped..
Note: For calculation/ computing the period of membership U/P 68B, 68BB, 68K, total service exclusive of periods of break under the same employer before the scheme is applied to him, as well as period of membership of the fund is always included.

C. The Existing Process of PF Withdrawal
EPFO has been working to provide online facility to PF accounts. Currently the online facility is provided to PF members for transfer of PF to new account after leaving an employer and joining a new employer, and also a facility of a kind of e-passbook to check the balances in the account and status of transfers in the account. It requires registration on Universal Account Number (UAN) based Member Portal, (http://uanmembers.epfoservices.in/) and as of now only those employees can avail this facility, whose employers are submitting the EPF contributions through ECR (electronically), which is now becoming a popular practice. Moreover, this registration also requires UID (Unique Identification Number or Adhar Number) which is still not operational in many regions and this is why trade unions are opposing this.
As of now 61.5 million EPF members have been issued UAN but out of them only 23.4 million UANs are activated on UAN based member portal.
Online facility for withdrawal of EPF has still not been started. The EPFO is planning to start this facility from August 2016 . After this facility starts working the withdrawal of PF may become easier, and then the workers may not need to go to employers and EPF will direct the employers to put their digital signatures on online PF withdrawal forms. However, in that case also they may need to take print of online submitted form and submit it to the employers so that they may verify the applicant and there is no fraud. This is why EPFO wants to link the UAN with UID and then this verification by employers may not be required. According to EPFO, if details such as Aadhaar and Bank Account number are linked to the employee’s Universal Account Number (UAN) and know-your-customer (KYC) verification is already done by the employer, then the employees will be able to directly apply in EPFO for PF withdrawal using their UAN and there will be no need for them to go to the employers. But UID is still not operational in many regions and therefore online EPF withdrawal may take a long time to be operational at national level.
However, the PF withdrawal forms have been made quite simple and EPFO has also provided clear instructions how to fill up these forms. The forms and instructions can be downloaded from the website: http://www.epfindia.com/site_en/WhichClaimForm.php
There are different forms for different kind of claims:
1. Transfer of PF after joining new employer (Needs signature of both previous and new employer): Form 13: http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/Form13.pdf
2. Partial withdrawal/advance from PF account (needs signature of existing employer): Form 31: http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/Form31.pdf
3. For PF withdrawal (signature of last employer): form 19: http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/Form19.pdf
4. For Pension fund withdrawal and for Employees pension scheme certificate as applicable (signature of last employer): Form 10C: http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/Form10C.pdf
5. For pension and reduced pension as applicable: Form 10D: http://www.epfindia.com/site_docs/PDFs/Downloads_PDFs/Form10D.pdf
So as of now, Application for PF withdrawal needs to be rooted through the last employer or the existing employer OR at least the signature of the employer is necessary without this the PF withdrawal form is not completed and so not accepted at EPFO.
However, regarding the employers’ role and when employers are not cooperating in filing the PF withdrawal applications, the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 gives following directions:
Under section 72 (5) of the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 , also it is provided that:
“(a) Every employer shall, at the time when a member of the Fund leaves the service, be required to get the claim application, for payment of provident fund in cases specified in clauses (a) to (dd) of sub-paragraph (1), of paragraph 69, duly filled in and attested, and to forward the said application [within five days of its receipt] to the Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf.
(b) Every employer shall, at the time when a member of the Fund leaves the service, be required to get the claim application, for payment of provident fund in cases specified in clause (e) of sub-paragraph (1), and in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 69, duly filled in and attested, and to give the said application to the member, for submission, on completion of the period specified in sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 69, [provided the member continues to remain unemployed in a factory or other establishment to which the Act applies] either through post or in person with proper identification, to the Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf.
(c) Every employer shall, on the death of the member and on receipt of an application for receiving the amount standing to the credit of such member, forward forthwith [but not later than five days of its receipt] the said application to the Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf.
(d) If the applicant is unable to send the claim application through the employer or duly attested by him, for any reason whatsoever, he may forward it to the Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf, and wherever necessary, the Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him in this behalf may forward such application to the employer and the employer shall be required, to return it within five days of its receipt.”
The following clause is further added in this scheme by Ministry of Labour and Employment Notification dated 14th February 2016 :
“Provided that notwithstanding anything contained in this sub-paragraph, the Central Provident Fund Commissioner may permit a member to submit his claim, in such form and manner, and on such terms and conditions as may be specified by him in this regard, directly to the Commissioner. ”
The EPFO provides following clear cut directions and the remedy in case the employers are not cooperating or the employee is not able to contact the employers:
“It is the duty of the employer under the Act & Scheme to help Employees’ Provident Fund organisation to settle the Provident Fund dues of his employees. He has to complete the prescribed application within 5 days of receipt [para72(5)] forms & hand over it to the member when he leaves the service. When a member finds difficult to get the form attested by the employer, he can get the attestation of any of the following officer & send to the Provident Fund office:
1. Manager of a bank
2. By any gazetted officer
3. Member of the Central Board of Trustees./ committee/ Regional Committee (Employees’
Provident Fund Organization)
4. Magistrate
5. Post master or Sub Post Master of relevant Post office
6. Notary Public
7. President of Village Panchayat”
However, this is only an alternative route if there is no other way and therefore never encouraged this process for fear of fraud; and it demands a letter from such applicants stating the reasons of the direct application (bypassing the employers) to EPFO for EPF withdrawal. It implies that such applicants need to cite certain evidence for employers’ non-cooperation etc, which is generally not easy.
The claims received complete in all respects are disposed off within a maximum period of 30 days from the date of receipt of claims in the office. In case the member is not hearing anything about his application within 30 days, he can approach the Public Relation Officer
D. The Problems in PF Withdrawal
AITUC State General Secretary of Haryana Mr Bechu Giri (also Member of Regional Board of Trustees of ESI and Ex-member, Regional Board of Trustees of EPF) lists the following problems in PF withdrawal:
a) Majority of workers are engaged as contract labour or as irregular workers, their tenure of employment does not generally go beyond 6-7 months with one employer. Even if they are working with same company, their service is discontinued after 6-7 months, and in case of contract workers they are shifted from the role of one contractor to that of the other.
b) In these situations, both transfer of PF and withdrawal of PF have lot of difficulties. If the PF is continuing and not withdrawn and worker wants to withdraw PF after few years, then they face many difficulties. Many times names, nominations, date of birth, date of joining and signatures of workers entered in documents (do not remember their own signatures because they do not have to sign regularly on anything) of different employers do not match. Many times mistakes are silly, like Surendra and Surender (due to different pronunciation by people with different cultural backgrounds). Many times the workers join the EPF when unmarried so nominees may be their parents, but later on they get married and nominees change in company documents but remain the same in PF documents and at the time of PF withdrawal this creates lot of problems. In cases of such mistakes, for want of corrections PF withdrawal may take several months if not several years. In such cases the workers face lot of harassment from employers and PF officials.
c) The workers who want to draw PF whenever they leave job also face difficulties. It is still a requirement that the previous employers have to verify the PF withdrawal application. The workers can apply for PF withdrawal only after 2 months waiting period and many times they find that the contractors (their immediate employers) or in case of small companies even the owners have disappeared or changed; and it becomes really difficult to get the PF-form verified. Many times employers are not cooperating in verifying the PF form and help ex-employees in PF withdrawal.
d) For such cases where employers are missing or not cooperating there is a provision in PF manual for an alternative mechanism for attestation of forms a Manager of a bank where the applicant has an account, any gazetted officer, a member of the regional board of trustees of EPFO, a Magistrate, relevant Village Panchayat president etc. But this was actually never promoted by EPFO and the applicants were asked to give proof that the employer was missing or not cooperating. But what proof the workers can give in this regards?
e) According to Mr Giri, earlier the trade union representatives in the regional board of trustees were the ready available remedy in such cases and to a large extent were able to address this problem if the workers approached. Other officers were generally never willing to help the workers and verify their PF withdrawal form, and many times it was also used for charging some money from the workers. But nowadays the EPFO rarely accepts the verification by the trade union representatives of the regional board, and therefore the problems have increased many folds.However, under the law this alternative route for verification of PF withdrawal form still exists. But practically it may be functioning in very few regions and in very few cases.

The problems related to the online system of PF Withdrawal
Mr Giri told that in a situation when huge majority of workers are only little bit educated or illiterate and have no access to internet, the online system is not able to resolve the problems. He says that mainly the permanent workers and the unionized workers are empowered enough to use such facilities, other workers are largely ignorant and also not equipped enough to use such facilities. According to him, online system can resolve many problems like if the employees are able to check their PF accounts regularly, they can sort out the mistakes in name, nominee, date of birth, date of joining etc well before and may not face difficulties in the stage of withdrawal; they may also check whether the employers are depositing contributions and whether the deposited amounts are correct and raise these problems well before. But the problem is lack of awareness, lack of education and lack of access to internet. Mr Giri says that requirement of Adhar number is going to have a big problem for the workers, as significant proportions of workers do not have Adhar registration. Alternatively he suggests that the EPFO can itself design a biometric system like ESI or it may use the biometric system of ESI of ESI itself for verification, rather than making Adhar number mandatory for this.

Appendix: Sample Form 19 with Instructions

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One comment on “PF Withdrawal Rules, Processes and Problems

  1. Ricky
    January 10, 2018

    My husband is missing and i worked for 20 years as tacher in pvt school.And fir was not lodged that time 26 years ago.now they ask for death certificate ..undew which law they ask for death certificate..since its my contributuon towards pension infact they already release my fund..plz suggest remedy to start my pension

    My second question is i attain my age 61 now and resign job 4 years bach ..how much percent of pension now i can get?

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