As an employed individual, you must be having an EPF or employees provident fund account which is covered under the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. The flagship scheme of the Employees Provident Funds Organisation (EPFO) aims at meeting the financial requirement of salaried individuals during the retirement age.
All establishments with employee strength of 20 or more are covered under the Act. Nonetheless, it also exercises authority over some of the notified organizations that employ even lesser employees.
Some of the important pointers you should definitely take note of regarding your EPF include:
1. PF number: Salaried employees are allotted a PF number. In case of un-exempted organizations that are administered by the EPFO, the PF number is alphanumeric that is representative of the state, regional office, organization and the PF member code. In the other case i.e. for exempted establishments, where the PF is managed by a trust, there is allotted a numeric PF number. PF number changes whenever an employee changes the organization.
2. Universal account number (UAN): It is a 12-digit unique number assigned to every employee and remains the same irrespective of the number of organizations the employee changes. The different PF accounts of the employee are linked with the UAN and that enables the accountholder to better manager issues such as transfer of PF account, withdrawal etc.
3. Contribution to PF account: Employees are mandated to make a monthly contribution of 12% of the pay that includes basic pay, dearness allowance, retaining allowance, if any. Employee is also allowed to increase contribution to up to 100% of the basic pay and such additional contribution made voluntarily is part of the voluntary provident fund (VPF). Employee can change contributions towards the VPF account only once in a year.
Employer also makes similar contribution i.e. 12% of the employees' basic pay. However the entire contribution does not goes into employee's PF account i.e. 8.33% of the total 12% contributed by the employer (of a maximum of Rs. 15,000) is transferred into the EPS or employee pension scheme and the rest is transferred to the employee's EPF account.
4. Rate of interest on PF balance: The government every year notifies the rate of return on EPF i.e. declared by the provident fund body's central board of trustees. Interest is calculated on the basis of monthly running balance in the PF account of the employee and is credited once a year. For 2018-19, the interest rate on PF has been increased to 8.65% from 8.55% in the previous financial year i.e. 2017-18.
5. Employee EPF statement or passbook: It is the obligation of the employer to provide an employee with the EPF statement within six months from the end of the financial year. The statement details the contribution made by the employee and employer separately, contribution towards EPS, interest earned as well as other details. EPFO members who are registered on the unified member portal can also view their EPF passbook.