EPF Registration- An Overview
Employee Provident Fund is a specialised fund which is set up to offer some form of retirement and other allied benefits for salaried individuals. All organisations require to register with the above if specific prerequisites are met. Under The Employees Provident Funds And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, the term employee would include any form of a worker who is receiving a fixed proportion of wages.
In order to be eligible to register under EPF registration, the employer has to satisfy specific requirements of the act. Under section 2(3), this act would be applicable to all establishments in India. Apart from this, the following requirements have to be complied by the employer for employee provident fund registration:
- This registration would be required for every establishment or institution which is specified under schedule I of the Act.
- All institutions under this act have to recruit more than 20 labours and employees.
- This act will also be applicable if the Central Government notifies any particular industry to comply with the provisions.
- Institutions and establishments having lesser than 20 workers can also go for the process of voluntary registration under this act.
- Any form of society which is registered and formed under the Cooperative Society act has to have 50 workers or employees for being considered for Employee Provident fund registration.
Any company has to comply with the provisions of the EPF. If a company does not comply with the requirement of registration, then they would have to pay the penalty. Compliance means the company has to register with this organisation within one month of recruiting more than 20 employees.
Under this act, each and every employee is provided with an UAN and EPF number. This EPF number does not change even if there is a change in employment.
Statutory Meaning of the Employee Provident Fund
The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) was set up by the government of India. This was brought out in the year 1951 through the Employee Provident Fund Ordinance. Subsequently, this ordinance was converted to the act in the year 1952. After this ordinance was cleared, a bill was considered regarding the same. This bill eventually became the Employees' Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, which would apply to all states in India. The main aim of this fund is to maintain a healthy bond between the employer and the employee.
Main Regulatory Body for Employee Provident Fund
The primary authority for the Employee Provident Fund is the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). In the world, the EPFO is one of the largest social security organisations having a lot of contributions. All records of various transactions are maintained as per the rules of the organisation.
The law dealing with Employee provident fund is the Employees' Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
Benefits of Provident Fund Registration
Through the employee provident fund, a significant proportion of risk is reduced. This would serve as a benefit for both the employees and the dependants. This fund would be used during times of emergencies and other forms of contingencies.
Once an employer goes for the process of online PF registration, then a number is allocated to the employee. Even if the employee switches his job, the number will remain the same. This number would be valid throughout India. Hence, even if the employee shifts to another location for the purpose of carrying out employment, this number will remain unchanged.
Employee Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI)
Under this scheme, all employees would receive some form of benefits related to insurance. This is charged at the rate of 0.5% to the account. Any members who have to utilise this scheme have to particularly sign up for the same.
Considering the employee provident fund registration provides special benefits such as a mode of retirement savings. After a specific period of time, retirement benefits can be utilised through this scheme.
Under this scheme, some form of the deduction is carried out through the salary account. Under the EPF provisions, 12% is deducted and credited to this fund. Out of this proportion, more than 8.33% is credited directly to the pension requirements. Due to this benefit, an employee can consider such savings as a requirement after retirement.
Meaning of Employee under the Employee Provident Fund Registration
As per section 2(f) of the Employees' Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 an employee can be understood as any form of individual carrying out any form of work for the purpose of securing some form of wages. This would include any individual considered as a worker receiving some proportion of wages either directly or indirectly.
The following individuals are considered under the meaning of an employee:
Full-time employees would include any individual who has a permanent employment history with the company. This would be determined based on the relationship which is derived between the worker and the company. The appointment letter would be considered here for the employment provisions.
Any employee that works on a part-time basis for an organisation would be classified to be registered under the EPFO. A part-time employee can be defined as having lesser defined work hours when compared to a full-time employee.
Work From Home Employees
Any employee that works from home for a specific period of time, would also be considered by an organisation for the employee provident fund registration.
Contractors are specific individuals who are appointed to carry out specific projects as per the requirements of the business. EPF registration is required for an organisation that recruits even contractors.
Consultants are specific individuals defined by their experience. They are neither contractors nor part-time employees but provide consulting based services to an organisation for a particular period of time. The services utilised by a consultant will be either a full-time consultant or a part-time consultant.
In a recent amendment on Social Security Code brought out in September 2020, the government of India has recognised individuals termed as freelancers to be included under the meaning of an employee. Freelancers also can avail services provided under the employee provident fund registration.
Who is not included under the meaning of an employee?
Intern or Apprentice
An individual employed as an intern would not fall under the meaning of an employee under the act. An intern is only employed for a specific period of time. Usually, an intern is hired for a period of one month or more.
An individual who is retired would not be considered as an employee for the purposes of the EPF. Every organisation has a different period of retirement. Usually, the age would be considered as the factor which determines the retirement of the individual.
NRI or Employee Residing Abroad for Work
An NRI who spends more of his time aboard would not be considered qualified for registering under the employee provident fund. Even an individual who is recruited for a foreign company would not be regulated by the provisions of the above act, as foreign laws would be applicable.
Eligibility Criteria for Employee Provident Fund Registration
The following eligibility criterion has to be satisfied for Employee Provident Fund Registration:
Any establishment which has more than 20 employees has to register as per the requirements of the EPFO.
An organisation which has lesser than 20 employees can opt for voluntary registration.
Any form of establishment which is recognised as per the requirements of the act have to register under the Employee Provident Fund.
Process of EPF registration
The process of EPF registration is completely online. There is no requirement for going to the authority to register with the above documents physically. The following steps have to be considered for the EPF registration process:
Visit Online EPFO Portal
Employee is required to visit the website https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/ for securing the universal account number.
Such information such as the Universal Account Number, Aadhaar number, and other information has to be provided by the employee.
Input Personal Details
Personal information such as the name of the employee, contact information and other information has to be provided by the employee.
Receive OTP Number
Once all this information is provided, the individual would receive an OTP number on the registered mobile number. This information would be available along with the unique identification number.
Check the Box for Activation
In the final step, the employee is required to check the box to activate the UIN.
Updates related to Employee Provident Fund
- The Social Security Code, 2020 has made amendments to the requirement that different forms of employees can be added to the meaning of employee. This would also include freelancers and other types of employees.
- As of March 2020, that interest rate which is charged is reduced, Previously the amount of interest rate was charged at 8.65 %. This has been reduced to 8.50%.
Documents for Employee Provident Fund Registration
The following documents are required for employee provident fund registration:
- Information of the Employer- name and pan card of the employer.
- ID proof of the employer in Passport or Voter ID or Driving License.
- Address proof of the office.
- Utility Bills such as electricity and water bill.
- Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the Company.
- Copy of the Certificate of Registration of the trust or the society.
- If a partnership is considered, then the copy of the partnership deed should be provided.
- Address proof and ID of the individual partners must be provided.
- A cheque which is cancelled showing the (Account Number and the Account Holder Name).
- Any Accounting Information such as the Balance Sheet and Audited Accounts.
- Sale Bill.
- Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of the Company.
- Wages Statement and information.
- For UAN (Unique Account Number ) Activation – personal information related to the employee must be provided.