Retirement fund body EPFO has enrolled over 82 lakh new subscribers under its Employees’ Enrolment Campaign 2017 started on January 1 this year. Under the scheme, the employees got the opportunity to file the declaration of unregistered employees under the EPFO Act, with a nominal fine of Re 1 per annum on account of damages. According to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) statement, “82,01,533 workers enrolled as on May 31, 2017 under the Employees’ Enrolment Campaign 2017.” “With the enrolment of over 82 lakh subscribers under the scheme, now the total number of contributing members is about 4.5 crore,” EPFO Central Provident Fund Commissioner V P Joy told PTI. Asked about extending the campaign beyond June 30, 2017, Joy said, “There is absolutely no chance to extend it as it was for six months. There is no proposal to extend the scheme also.”
The campaign was launched earlier to encourage employers to voluntarily come forward and declare details of all such employees who were entitled for membership between April 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016 under EPF & MP Act 1952, but could not be enrolled. Initially, the scheme was for three months till March 31, 2017 but later it was extended till June 30, 2017. Under the scheme, the employees share of contribution, if declared by the employer as not deducted, shall stand waived. Besides, the damages to be paid by the employer in respect of the employees for whom declaration has been made under this campaign is paid at the rate of Re 1 per annum. Moreover, no administrative charges is collected from the employer in respect of the contribution made under the declaration.
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Under the scheme, a declaration can be made under the campaign for the period till June 2017, for which no enquiry under section 7A is initiated. The EPFO also said that for the benefit of international workers, new instructions have been issued to all field functionaries regarding COC (Certificate of Coverage). The employer is advised to submit the application form for COC one month in advance and the COC is issued prior to departure of the employee from India. Also, the COC period should not exceed 60 months or the specified period in the social security agreement with that country. COC should not be issued for a period which commence much later than date of posting of the Indian worker in the host country for employment, it said.
There should not be any overlapping of the period of coverage. There should not be gaps when more than one COC is issued to the same posted worker as these results in lack of Social Security coverage during the gaps, it added. It said that the EPFO e-court Management System launched on May 16, 2017 with objective of having a transparent and electronic case management system. All per/evidence/documents can be filed online and the status can also be viewed online. The body further said that the claim settlement period has been reduced to 10 days from 20 days and grievance redressal period is reduced to 15 days from 20 days.