There are three major provident fund accounts available in the country namely Employees' Provident Fund or EPF, General Provident Fund or GPF and Public Provident Fund or PPF account. EPF is a compulsory retirement saving option that is deducted from the salary of salaried individuals. GPF is a provident fund account which is available only for government employees. While, PPF account is a financial instrument, offered by bank and post offices, which offers income tax benefits. Interest rates on these provident fund accounts are revised by government from time to time.
Here are key things to know about EPF and GPF account:
Companies employing more than 20 people have to compulsorily make contributions towards the EPF. Both the employee and the employer make equal contributions towards EPF. Last month, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation increased the interest rate on EPF to 8.65 per cent for the current financial year.
EPF account can be closed while quitting job permanently. It can also be transferred while changing companies till retirement. Partial withdrawal from EPF accounts is allowed for purchase/construction of house, repayment of loan, non-receipt of wage for two months, marriage of self/daughter/son/brother, for medical treatment of family members etc.
A government employee becomes a member of GPF by contributing a certain percentage of his/her salary to the account. As per GPF rules, all temporary government servants after a continuous service of one year, all re-employed pensioners (other than those eligible for admission to the contributory provident fund) and all permanent government servants are eligible to subscribe to GPF. GPF earns an interest rate of 8 per cent.
A subscriber can subscribe monthly to GPF except during the period when he/she is under suspension. Subscriptions to the general provident fund are stopped three months prior to the date of superannuation.