Employees will soon be able to withdraw up to 75% of their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) during the COVID-19 outbreak. The reason “Pandemic” can be cited by EPF subscribers as the reason to withdraw the same, as a non-refundable advance.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the ‘Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package’ to help the poor and working class of the country during the pandemic. She announced “Employees’ Provident Fund Regulations will be amended to include Pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.” This decision is for the benefit of the families of 40 Million workers registered under the Employee Provident Fund.
At present, EPF subscribers can withdraw a non-refundable advance from their PF accounts under various terms and conditions, including illness, marriage, education, and purchase of house etc. Here, “non-refundable” implies that the subscriber does not have to return the deposit to the employer after withdrawing the advance.
This decision of the government will help all the EPF subscribers who might face a reduction in pay, or run short of money during the ongoing nationwide lockdown till April 14, which may be extended – depending on the level of the COVID-19 outbreak.
PF withdrawal requests can now be submitted online by subscribers. The Employee Provident Fund Organisation is yet to come up with detailed guidelines on EPF advance for COVID-19.
While unveiling the ‘Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package’ worth USD 22 Billion, Finance Minister stated that the Indian government will pay the employers as well as the employees contribution towards Provident Fund for organisations having up to 100 workers, with 90% of those who earn less than Rs 15,000 per month.
“Wage-earners below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers are at risk of losing their employment. Under this package, government proposes to pay 24 per cent of their monthly wages in to their PF accounts for next three months. This would prevent disruption in their employment,” she said.