The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has set up an online mechanism to credit the accounts of eligible Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees' Pension System (EPS) subscribers amid the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic. The development comes amid an ongoing countrywide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease. Under the PM Garib Kalyan scheme, the government will pay the contribution on behalf of both the employer and the employee in the EPF as well as EPS accounts of certain salaried workers for a period of three months, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,800 crore, the labour ministry said in a statement.
The scheme is estimated to benefit around 79 lakh subscribers and 3.8 lakh establishments, it said.
EPF subscribers earning a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000 in establishments or factories employing up to 100 employees are eligible for the scheme under certain conditions. The establishments should have 90 per cent or more of workers earning a monthly wage less than Rs 15,000.
The labour ministry said eligible organisations can claim the relief by filing an electronic challan-cum-return (ECR). The filing of the ECR will enable eligible organisations to receive the relief for their employees.
Last month, the government had launched the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan scheme to support the poor to fight the fallout from the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The package aims to prevent disruption in the employment of low wage-earning EPF members and extend support to eligible EPF covered establishments.
Meanwhile, the EPFO processed about 1.37 lakh claims across the country in less than 10 days, disbursing Rs 279.65 crore under a new provision specially formulated to help subscribers endure the COVID-19 lockdown.