Separate fund under EPFO likely for new individuals

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The authorities might create a separate fund under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for contributions from individuals who be part of the scheme voluntarily as soon as it’s thrown open to everybody.

A launch date for this fund can be introduced individually when the scheme is made common, stated officers. A separate fund is being thought-about to make sure the new particular person subscribers don’t draw upon the advantages of years of investments of greater than 60 million EPFO subscribers from the prevailing corpus of over Rs 10 lakh crore.

The EPFO has retained 8.5% return for this monetary 12 months, a lot greater than about 7% obtainable on small financial savings schemes. “Discussions are on within the labour ministry to set up a separate corpus for individuals once the EPFO scheme is opened for all,” a senior authorities official instructed ET on situation of anonymity. “We cannot allow new individuals to reap benefits of the longterm investments of EPFO.” Currently, the EPFO’s provident fund scheme is offered to institutions and employees who’re in a proper employee-employer relationship. Self-employed individuals resembling chartered accountants, medical doctors and attorneys usually are not eligible to subscribe to the scheme.

However, the scheme will quickly be obtainable to all individuals, together with the self-employed, very like the National Pension System (NPS). Individuals who voluntarily subscribe to the EPFO would get returns relying on the earnings of the new fund, and their withdrawal standards is also totally different, stated officers. This would require modification to the Employees’ Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, which governs 24% contribution, 12% every from worker and employer, to the provident and pensions schemes under the EPFO.

The Code on Social Security, 2020, empowers the federal government to border every other scheme or schemes for the needs of offering social safety advantages to self-employed employees or every other class of individuals.

Changes could possibly be made as soon as the 4 labour codes get carried out, stated officers. The code envisions a common social safety for all its employees and employed folks within the nation.

Opening up the EPFO scheme to individuals would significantly widen the social safety internet whereas bringing tens of millions of employees under the formal headcount. Only about 10% of the nation’s 500 million workforce is within the organised sector, leaving a serious chunk of working folks out of any formal social safety safety.

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