The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the deadline for members and pensioners to apply for higher Provident Fund (PF) pension till July 11 The deadline was to expire on June 26.
With this, employees and pensioners will get 15 more days to submit the joint option forms. Employers will have to validate the applications by September 30.
This is the second such extension for applying for higher pension. The online facility to submit joint options was launched on February 26 and was to remain available till May 3. Considering the representations of the employees, the time limit was extended to June 26.
The representatives of both employers and employees had requested the Union government to extend the deadline again, given the plight of pensioners and the amount of work involved in validating the forms.
The EPFO said it would be the “last opportunity” for employees to submit the joint options to get pension on higher wages. It has, however, not clarified on issues such as the demand by employers to share the past wage details of employees and pensioners.
Employers’ associations have been complaining that they were not liable to keep records of pensioners beyond eight years. Several companies had also closed down during the lockdown and they do not have records of their employees and pensioners.
Over 16 lakh applications received
The EPFO said it has received 16.06 lakh applications for validation of option/joint options till Monday. It is learnt that the EPFO has sent about 1,000 demand letters to pensioners and employees based on these joint options to collect arrears from their PF accounts.
“Any eligible pensioner/member who on account of any issue in updation of KYC, faces difficulty in submitting online Application for Validation of Option/Joint Option, may immediately lodge such grievance on EPFiGMS for resolution. The grievance may please be submitted by selecting the grievance category of ‘Higher Pensionary benefits on higher wages’. This will ensure proper record of such a grievance for further action,” the EPFO said in a release.
It also added that the request by employers to extend the date has been considered sympathetically and the employers were being given a further period of three months to submit wage details and so on.
Raghunathan K.E., Member representing Employers, Central Board of Trustees, EPFO, welcomed the decision. He said a lot of verification was needed on the joint options as these involved financial transactions. “We are very happy and compliment EPFO for three months time for employers and also 15 days for employees. EPFO once again proves to be considerate and compassionate to field issues,” he said, adding that the EPFO should also consider putting in place an alternative mechanism for those enterprises that have wound up their businesses.