PF withdrawal norms kept in abeyance till July 31 following protests

New Delhi: Facing protest, the government on Tuesday kept in abeyance — for three more months — the proposed move to bar withdrawal of employer’s contribution to the provident fund corpus until the employee attains the age of 58 years.
“The notification (tightening PF withdrawal norms) will be kept in abeyance for three months till July 31, 2016. We will discuss this issue with stakeholders,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters.
His announcement comes in the midst of protest by labour unions in several parts of India against the bar on withdrawing employer’s contribution from the PF money.
An online campaign was also launched against the decision which was to be implemented from February 10 but was later put on hold till April 30.
Dattatreya said a meeting of the Central Board of Trustee would be called “to see how best the employers’ contribution to EPF (3.67 per cent of basic wages) can be utilised for workers.”
The labour ministry is also contemplating permitting withdrawal of all accumulations by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) subscribers on grounds like purchase of house, serious illness, marriage and professional education of children. The matter has been referred to law ministry for clearance.
In February, the ministry had issued a notification restricting 100 per cent withdrawal of provident fund by members after unemployment of more than two months, among others. Following the concerns raised by trade unions and other stakeholders, the ministry decided to keep the notification in abeyance till April 30. Its implementation has been again deferred till July 31, as per a labour ministry statement.
Now, the EPFO subscribers who are out of job for more than two months can file for full and final settlement of provident fund till July end. “On the direction of labour minister, the said provision will now come into effect from August 1, 2016 by issue of an amended notification,” the statement said.
The proposal to amend the scheme to allow all accumulations on different grounds like purchase of house, serious illness, marriage and professional education of children, has been sent for vetting by the law ministry.
The proposal also allows withdrawal of all accumulation by EPFO members who have joined an establishment or firm of central or state government and became the member of contributory provident fund or old age pension under any scheme frame by them. The unions have been demanding complete rollback of the decision tightening the PF withdrawal norms.

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