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Women just 23% among new EPF subscribers

Labour market experts, however, see this a positive development considering their mobility constraint and their increased responsibilities, including the care work, during the pandemic year.

Women just 23% among new EPF subscribers
EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised/semi-organised sector in India.

The number of women among new subscribers joining the social security scheme run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) continued to languish at 23% in 2020-21, the same level as the previous fiscal.

As per EPFO’s the latest payroll data, of the 85 lakh new subscribers’ addition in the 2020-21 fiscal, 19 lakh comprised women. In 2019-20, of the 110 lakh new additions to the EPFO’s subscribers’ base, 25 lakh were women.

Labour market experts, however, see this a positive development considering their mobility constraint and their increased responsibilities, including the care work, during the pandemic year.

“The EPFO numbers for 2020-21 is reflective of the havoc caused by the pandemic on formal employment. However, it is encouraging to see the share of women in the new formal employment did not actually fall,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice president, Teamlease.

XLRI professor and labour market expert KR Shyam Sundar said despite the pandemic, the status quo in the ratio shows that the extent of formal employment for women has not been whittled down.

“This is a positive labour market outcome as normally in the pandemic context women are less likely to enter the labour market or continue to enter the labour market because of their multiple responsibilities, including care work,” Sundar said.

During 2020-21, cumulative net payroll addition to the EPFO’s subscribers’ base, however, remained static at 77.08 lakh. EPFO arrives at the net number deducting the total of the subscribers’ who exited from the sum of new subscribers and those who left earlier but rejoined during the year.

The latest data, which is provisional and subject to change, showed that nearly 98 lakh subscribers exited from the EPFO in 2020-21 compared with around 110 lakh in the previous year. But, the number of subscribers those exited earlier but rejoined during the year was higher by around 11 lakh in 2020-21 compared with 2019-20.

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