EPFO issues instructions for Joint Requests under

author Khyati Bhatia , Apoorv Shishodia

calender June 14, 2023

EPFO issues instructions for Joint Requests under Employee Provident Fund Scheme, 1952

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (“EPFO”) vide its circular number WSU/2023/19/Para 23(6) (E-108547) dated June 02, 2023 (“Circular”), had issued instructions regarding the submission of joint requests under paragraph 26(6) of the Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 (“EPF Scheme”). The Circular explains that paragraph 26(6) of the EPF Scheme allows employees whose monthly pay exceeds the statutory wage ceiling (currently INR 15,000 per month) to voluntarily enrol in the EPF Scheme and contribute based on their actual higher pay. Considering the same, EPFO has issued this Circular for providing some clarity with respect to the submission of joint request under the EPF Scheme.

INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED UNDER THE CIRCULAR.

The Circular provides the following instructions for making joint requests:

  1. Employees who wish to become members of the EPF Scheme and contribute based on their actual higher pay must submit a joint request with their employer using the pro forma application attached to the Circular.
  2. The joint request should be submitted by the employer to the jurisdictional Regional Office.
  3. The employer is required to undertake, in the attached pro forma application, to pay the administrative charges applicable to the actual higher pay and comply with all the statutory provisions regarding the employee in question.

The Circular also specifies the process for receiving and maintaining such joint requests in the EPFO Field Office:

  1. The employer must submit the joint request and the undertaking in the pro forma application, signed by both the employee and the employer, digitally to the jurisdictional Regional Office. The Regional Office will communicate this digital channel to establishments under its jurisdiction.
  2. The jurisdictional Regional Office will process all the joint requests applications and undertakings promptly.
  3. An officer of at least the rank of Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner shall, within 7 (seven) days of receiving the joint request, notify both the employer and the employee whether the employee can contribute based on actual higher pay or be enrolled as a member of the EPF Scheme, depending on the case.

CLARIFICATION REGARDING THE APPLICATION OF THE CIRCULAR.

According to the Circular, the aforementioned instructions apply to the following employees:

  1. Employees who will be enrolled in the EPF Scheme from now on.
  2. Existing members of the EPF Scheme who may wish to contribute based on actual higher pay in the future when their wages exceed the existing statutory wage ceiling.

The Circular also clarifies that existing members who are already contributing based on actual higher pay and have not yet submitted the joint request and employer's undertaking, can submit them at the time of final claim settlement.

CONCLUSION

The Circular issued by the EPFO is of paramount importance as it provides clear instructions for both the employees and the employers on how to handle joint requests under Paragraph 26(6) of the EPF Scheme. Additionally, it outlines the process that the Regional Office follows in dealing with these requests. The instructions provided in the Circular on how employees with salaries exceeding the wage ceiling can join the EPF Scheme, is a welcome move by EPFO as it offers valuable guidance and support to facilitate the inclusion of such employees into the EPF Scheme.

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