Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is a scheme under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. It is regulated under the purview of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) which is one of the World’s largest Social Security Organizations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken. Basically, EPF is normally like a benefit to an employee during the retirement provided by the organization.
Applicability of EPF Registration for Employers
EPF registration is mandatory for all establishments-
- which is a factory engaged in any industry having 20 or more persons, and
- to any other establishment employing 20 or more persons or class of such establishments which the Central Government may, by notification specify on this behalf.
The employer must obtain the registration within 1 month of attaining the strength, failing which penalties will be applicable. A registered establishment continues to be under the purview of the Act even if the employee strength falls below the required minimum.
Central Government may apply the provisions to any establishment employing less than 20 employees after giving not less than two months’ notice for compulsory registration. Where the employer and majority of employees have agreed that the provisions of this act should be made applicable to the establishment, they may themselves apply to the Central Provident Fund (PF) Commissioner.
The Central PF Commissioner may apply the provisions of this Act to that establishment after passing the notification in the Official Gazette from the date of such agreement or from any subsequent date specified in the agreement. Some establishments having less than 20 employees would also be required to obtain PF registration but that is voluntary registration.
All the employees will be eligible for a PF from the commencement of their employment and the responsibility of deduction & payment of PF lies with the employer. The PF contribution of 12% should be divided equally between the employer and employee. The employer’s contribution is 12% of the basic salary. If the establishment has employed less than 20 employees, the PF deduction rate will be 10%.
EPF Registration Procedure
The employer must register the establishment online. With the convenience of online registration the employer can register the establishment by providing the following details:
- The establishment details to be provided are the Name of the establishment, Address, Incorporation Date, PAN and Type of establishment.
- If the establishment is a factory then the details to be provided are the Factory License Number, Date of License and Place of issue of License.
- If the establishment is an MSME then MSME registration details to be provided.
The employer must provide email id and mobile number of the authorised person.
Employers must provide details of the contact person like a manager. The details required are: Name, Date of Birth, Gender and Contact details.
The identifiers are the license information that the employer needs to provide.
The employment details required to be provided are the Employee strength, Gender, Type of activities, Wages above limit and Total wages.
Branch details such as name/premise number and address.
The employer needs to select the type of business and the activities included from the drop down lists available.
Steps For EPF Registration for Employers
The employer needs to follow the below-mentioned steps:
Step 1: Register Organization with EPFO
Visit the website and register the organization with EPFO. In the home page of the Unified portal, there is an option called “ESTABLISHMENT REGISTRATION”.
Step 2: Read the User Manual
Click on the “ESTABLISHMENT REGISTRATION” and you will be taken to the next page where you can “Download Manual”. A new user must download and read the instruction manual completely before the registration.
Step 3: Register On USSP
After reading the manual, the employer needs to sign up on the USSP (Unified Shram Suvidha Portal) of EPFO. The “ESTABLISHMENT REGISTRATION” button on the homepage of the EPFO website will open the USSP sign up page. You will need to click the “SIGN UP” button and provide Name, Email, Mobile Number, and Verification Code and create your account.
Step 4: Fill Registration Form
The employer needs to login to the USSP and select the “Registration For EPFO-ESIC” button present on the left-hand side of the screen. Next, select the “Apply for New Registration” button on the right side of the screen.
Two options will appear, i.e. “Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948” and “Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952”. The employer will need to select the “Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952” and click on the “Submit” button.
Upon clicking the “Submit” button the “Registration Form for EPFO” page will open and the employer needs to fill in the Establishment Details, eContacts, Contact Persons, Identifiers, Employment Details, Branch/Division and Activities.
Step 5: Attach DSC
After filling all the “Registration Form for EPFO” and attaching the relevant documents, the employer’s Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is to be uploaded and attached to the form. Once, the DSC of the employer is uploaded, the employer will receive an email from Unified Shram Suvidha Platform with a confirmation that the EPFO registration has been completed.
Documents Required For EPF Registration
The following documents need to be attached to the “Registration Form for EPFO” by the employer-
- PAN Card of the Proprietor/Partner/Director.
- Proof of address such as the Electricity Bill or Water Bill or Telephone Bill of the Registered Office (not older than 2 months).
- Aadhar Card of Proprietor/Partner/Director.
- Shop and establishment Certificate/GST Certificate/ any License issued by the government for the establishment.
- Digital Signature of the Proprietor/Partner/Director.
- Cancelled Cheque or Bank Statement of Entity.
- Hired/Rented/Leased Agreement, if any
In terms of returns from a debt instrument, EPF certainly stands tall. The money is sovereign-backed and the interest earned is tax-free. In fact, it enjoys the Exempt, Exempt, Exempt (EEE) status as contributions are deductible from income. There is hardly any debt product that gives such high return with safety and assurance. Therefore, it’s better to transfer the PF account at the time of switching jobs and avoid the temptation to withdraw the amount.