The labour ministry has allowed over six crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO to withdraw an amount not exceeding their three months' basic pay and dearness allowance from their EPF account in view of the lockdown to fight COVID-19.
Besides, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) also introduced an online claim settlement facility without manual intervention on Saturday morning for all KYC complaint subscribers during the lockdown.
The ministry has issued a notification in this regard on March 28, 2020 to amend the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme 1952, a labour ministry statement said.
The decision was taken in view of lockdown across the country to fight COVID-19.
The notification permitted non-refundable withdrawal not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowance for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to the credit of their EPF account, which ever is less, the ministry said.
The COVID-19 has been declared pandemic and therefore employees working in establishments and factories across entire India, who are members of the EPF Scheme, 1952 are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance.
A sub-para (3) under para 68L has been inserted in the EPF scheme, 1952.
The amended Employees Provident Fund (Amendment) scheme, 2020 has come into force from March 28.
Following the notification, EPFO has issued directions to its field offices for promptly processing any applications received from members to help them fight the situation.
In its communication, EPFO has stated that officers and staff must process claims of EPF subscribers promptly so that relief reaches the worker and his family to help them fight with COVID-19.
"We are happy to inform that our online claim filing facility for Covid-19 withdrawals has been successfully launched at 11 am today (Saturday). IT (information technology) division of the EPFO has devised a system of auto settlement of claims through our centralized server in respect of all such members whose KYC (know your customer) data is fully updated and compliant.
"It is going to be a paradigm shift in claim settlements that will be possible to settle within 3 days. This facility will stop manual intervention. The EPF claims will be settled fully online," an official said.
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