HomeLAWS & SCHEMESEPF/Pension Decisions from Central Board Of Trustees Meeting

EPF/Pension Decisions from Central Board Of Trustees Meeting

The Central Board of Trustees of EPF is a statutory body constituted by the Central Government of India; under the provisions of Section 5A of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions, 1952 (Act 19 of 1952). The Central Board of Trustees has a tenure of 5 years. They have a meeting every 6 months. Recently, the 233rd Central Board of Trustees meeting was concluded.

Shri Bhupender Yadav

Table of Contents

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – March 2023

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 233rd meeting on 28th March 2023 in Delhi. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. PF Interest Rate Increased

The Central Board of Trustees has suggested an annual interest rate of 8.15% to be added to the EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund) savings of its members for the financial year 2022-23. However, this rate is subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance before it is officially announced in the Government gazette. Once the interest rate is approved, EPFO will credit it to the accounts of all its subscribers.

2. Higher Pension

The Chairman of EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees (CBT), Shri Bhupender Yadav who is also the Central Labour Minister, assured the Board that the EPFO is fully committed to implementing the Supreme Court’s November 4, 2022 verdict on higher pension. EPFO presented a status note on higher pension after allowing a window till May 3rd for subscribers of the Employees’ Pension Scheme to opt for higher pension.

He also directed EPFO to take any steps necessary to ensure ease of compliance, especially on the mandatory documentation front.

3. EPFO and NTA sign agreement to conduct exams

The CBT has given approval to the umbrella MoU signed between EPFO and NTA to conduct different types of exams. As per this agreement, the first step has been taken by announcing a recruitment exam for the positions of Social Security Assistant and Stenographer.

The EPF Amendments Bill 2019 marks a significant shift in the regulatory framework governing employee provident funds, introducing changes aimed at enhancing transparency and efficiency in fund management. By familiarizing yourself with these amendments, you can better navigate your contributions and benefits under the EPF scheme. This knowledge is crucial for maximizing your retirement savings. Delve into the specifics of the EPF Amendments Bill 2019 and its implications for your financial planning here.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – Oct 2022

Many employees are unaware of the hidden pension rules that could significantly affect their retirement planning under the EPF scheme. Gaining insight into these rules can help you make more informed decisions about your pension contributions and eventual benefits. Our detailed guide sheds light on these less-known aspects, ensuring you can maximize your retirement benefits. Discover the hidden pension rules and how they might impact your future here.

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 232nd meeting on 31st October 2022 in Delhi. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. Proposed Changes to Employee Pension Scheme (EPS)

The Board suggested changes to the EPS-95 scheme, including allowing members who worked for less than six months to withdraw their funds from their EPS account. This means that even if a member worked for a short period, they will still be able to withdraw the money they contributed to the EPS account.

2. Higher Pension

The Board also recommended extending pension benefits for members who have been in the scheme for more than 34 years. This means that these pensioners will get a higher pension when they retire.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape of labor laws is vital for both employees and employers. Our comprehensive overview of All EPF & ESI Labour Law Updates in 2019 breaks down the key changes and introductions in the laws governing employee welfare and rights. These updates can significantly impact your benefits and obligations under the EPF scheme. Stay informed and understand how these changes affect you by reading our summary here.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – July 2022

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 231st meeting on 30th July 2022 in Delhi. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. Face Authentication Technology for Pensioners

The board launched Face Authentication for Digital Life Certificate to assist pensioners who have trouble with fingerprint and iris scanning due to old age. This technology will make it easier for pensioners to provide their biometric information and receive their pension benefits.

For our Hindi-speaking readers, understanding the EPF Act Amendments is essential for managing your contributions and benefits effectively. These amendments aim to provide better security and benefits for employees. Our detailed article in Hindi covers these changes comprehensively, ensuring you have the necessary information to protect your financial interests. Get all the details in Hindi here.

2. Online Calculators for Pension and Insurance Benefits

The then-Chairman of the CBT also launched online calculators for pensioners and their families to calculate their Pension and Death Linked Insurance benefits. This online facility will help them determine the benefits they are eligible for.

Ensuring accurate bank details in your PF account is critical for seamless transactions. Our guide in Hindi on correcting PF Incorrect Bank Details provides a step-by-step process to update your information, preventing delays in withdrawals or deposits. Avoid common pitfalls and ensure your funds reach you without any hassle. Learn how to update your bank details in PF records in Hindi here.

3. Release of Legal Framework Document

EPFO released the Legal Framework Document intending to make the organization a more efficient and responsible party when dealing with legal cases. This document will help EPFO handle legal matters in a coordinated and timely manner.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – March 2022

The CBT concluded their 230th meeting on 12th March 2022 in Guwahati. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. Rate of Interest

The Central Board recommended an 8.10% annual rate of interest to be credited on EPF accumulations in members’ accounts for the financial year 2021-22.

2. CBT Launches Upgraded PE Portal 2.0 for Contractors

CBT has launched an upgraded version of its PE portal called PE Portal 2.0. This new portal enables contractors to declare their Principal Employers (PEs) and provide details about the contract tenure, work order, and UANs of their employees.

3. Launch of e-office

The then-Chairman of the CBT virtually launched the e-Office at the Regional Office in Guwahati. This facility will be gradually implemented in all 258 field office locations to enhance productivity and transparency as part of the EPFO moves towards e-governance.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – Nov 2021

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 229th meeting on 20th November 2021 in New Delhi. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. Forming 4 Sub-Committees for Social Security Code Implementation

The Board accepted the then-Chairman’s recommendation to establish 4 sub-committees. These are composed of members from the employee, employer, and government sectors. The committees will focus on establishment-related matters, the futuristic implementation of the Social Security Code, Digital capacity building, and Pension-related issues. The Minister of State for Labour and Employment will head the first two committees, while the Union Labour and Employment Secretary will lead the last two.

2. CBT Chairman Unveils Booklet on EPFO’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

The CBT Chairman unveiled a booklet titled “Response to Covid-2.0” at the meeting, which highlighted the EPFO’s capacity to deliver uninterrupted services to stakeholders amid the pandemic. This is the second edition of the booklet, with the first one being released during the 228th CBT meeting in March 2021 held in Srinagar.

3. EPFO’s Digital Transformation Booklet Released by CBT Chairman

The CBT Chairman released another booklet titled “Nirbadh: Seamless Service Delivery” at the meeting, which outlines EPFO’s successful digital transformation from “EPFO to e-EPFO” over the past three years. The booklet is a compilation of various initiatives and strategies that have enabled the EPFO to become a paperless organisation that interacts digitally, thereby enhancing the ease of living for all stakeholders.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – March 2021

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 228th meeting on 4th March 2021 in Srinagar. The major decisions that were taken during this CBT meeting are as follows:

1. Rate of Interest

The Central Board recommended an 8.50% annual rate of interest to be credited on EPF accumulations in members’ accounts for the financial year 2020-21.

2. CBT Launches Upgraded PE Portal for Principal Employers

The CBT Chairman launched an e-facility for Principal Employers (PE). This feature allows PE to monitor their contractors’ PF compliance and remittance in the monthly ECR. Additionally, the upfront credit of PMRPY and ABRY scheme benefits paid into the PF accounts of contractors’ contract employees will be visible to the PE. This new facility empowers PE to ensure that all EPF contributions for contract workers are remitted by their contractors.

3. Web Facility for Complaint and Inspection Management

The CBT Chairman also launched a new web facility for registering, processing, and monitoring complaints and optional inspections by EPFO regional, zonal, and head offices. To streamline this process, zonal offices are now authorised to assess requests from regional offices, which are registered with a unique ID and tracked through a web-based portal. The inspection report and status of actions taken are updated on the dashboard for transparent monitoring. This entire process is carried out in a quick, efficient, and transparent manner through the web-based portal.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – September 2020

The Central Board of Trustees concluded their 227th meeting on 9th September 2020. Three major decisions were taken during this CBT meeting as follows.

1. PF Interest Rate

The Government had earlier announced the Pf interest rate for 2019-20 as 8.5%. But owing to the unprecedented pandemic, it was unsure what the PF interest would actually be. In this latest CBT meeting, members of the board said that they will atleast try to give the full 8.5% interest. Although this interest may come in two parts. The first 8.15% interest will be given to all PF members while the remaining 0.35% is subject to redemption. This means that if EPFO is able to recover its investments in the stock market then the remaining interest will be credited to all members by 30th December 2020. Although this will be accounted for as the interest of the financial year 2019-2020.

2. EDLI Maximum Benefit Increased to Rs 7 lakh

EDLI is a component of EPFO which covers the member as life insurance. This scheme provides insurance benefits to the member’s family in case of his death. Earlier, the minimum benefit available under this scheme was Rs 2.5 lakh while the maximum benefit was Rs 6 lakh. The minimum benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh was supposed to cease on 14th February 2020, but it got extended indefinitely. But the upper limit has been increased from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. Although this does not guarantee every member to get the full Rs 7 lakh. To calculate your EDLI benefit, check All About EDLI (Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme).

3. EPFO Online Appeals

PF inspections have been taken digital where employers have to update their documents and their queries are answered on the portal as well. Now EPFO has taken this a step further by bringing about a portal for online appeals. Herein, employers will be able to appeal against any EPFO disputes digitally. This will not only save the employer’s time but also cases of bribery and other malpractices.

Similarly, the Income Tax Department has also begun an initiative called Faceless Assessment and Faceless Appeal.

Watch our video on these three updates below.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – March 2020

The latest Central Board of Trustees meeting was held on 5th March 2020. Some important decisions regarding PF subscribers and pensioners were taken in this meeting, as follows.

1. Revised PF interest rate for 2019-2020

The PF interest rate has undergone a reduction from 8.65% to 8.50%. The reason behind this is that the equity investments by EPFO have not performed as well as expected. Although the government has not confirmed by when this interest will get credited. Generally, it is credited by April-May. But last year it was credited by September.

2. Commuted pension now restored

Commuted pension means that post-retirement, the pensioners could take a lump-sum amount, and the rest of his pension would be reduced. The Central Board of Trustees took the decision to normalize pension payment of pensioners who were under commuted pension for 50 years. They will receive the original pension amount after 15 years. Mr Gangwar also said to execute this decision immediately. This would benefit some 6.3 lakh pensioners in our country who had opted for a commuted pension.

3. EDLI benefits eligibility revised

If a PF member expires during his service, then his family is eligible for a lump-sum ranging between Rs 2.5-6 lakh. But earlier, it was mandatory for a member to work in one establishment for 12 continuous months to get EDLI benefits. This rule has now undergone a change. As long as a PF member works for 12 continuous months, regardless of the number of establishments, he will still be eligible for the benefits.

Other Important Update

EPFO had earlier removed a new company registration from Shram Suvidha portal and moved it to the MCA website. Thus, any new registration for an LLP or private company also mandates taking an EPF and ESI number. But, as we all know, PF is compulsory for a minimum of 20 employees and ESI is compulsory for 10 or 20 employees, depending on different states. Hence, taking a PF/ESI number just at the beginning of a new company would be against the law itself. The government has now taken a stance regarding it, saying that registration, in the beginning, is compulsory but compliance will only begin once the minimum threshold of employees is achieved. There is still some ambiguity regarding this. But we believe the decisions of the enforcement officers will be final in this matter.

central board of trustees meeting

Watch the video below.

Pension increase for commuted pensioners

What is GSR 132(E)?

The ongoing talks of increasing monthly pension of commuted pensioners were brought forth in the Central Board of Trustees August 2019 meeting. The decision was taken to restore the full pension of commuted pensioners above 15 years. The final notification came in February 2020 via GSR 132(E). This notification states that all the pensioners who opted for commuted pension before 25th September 2008 can get their pension amount restored to the original value, after a period of 15 years. There is no additional form submission required for this. The pension restoration will happen automatically.

The EPFO was under the process of updating its software to enable actual pension calculation of the commuted pensioners. This process was fast-paced due to the coronavirus lockdown. Since it will help out the financial situation of many people. Recently EPFO announcement said that their software is ready and will now help commuted pensioners to calculate their actual elevated pension.

What is Commutation?

PF members retiring before 25th September 2008 had an option to withdraw a lump-sum amount from their pension. Against this withdrawal, their monthly pension amount would be decreased. In this case, the pensioner would receive only 2/3rd of their actual pension amount per month. The remaining 1/3rd amount would be withdrawn as a lump-sum upon retirement. Though this option was removed after September 2008. Current EPF members do not have this option.

Earlier, the rule stated that once a pensioner opted for commuted pension, they would receive the reduced amount for their lifetime. But with the GSR 132(E) this has been amended. Noe commuted pensioners can get restored pension after 15 years.

Who will benefit from this?

This scheme will benefit some 6.3 lakh pensioners who will see a drastic improvement in their pension amount. This will cost the Central Government an additional Rs 1500 crores. This scheme is now live and active on the EPFO website.

During the initial commutation process, the pension amount saw a reduction of 1/3rd. But with this restoration, pensioners will see approx. 50% increase in their monthly pension amount. For example, if person A retired on 1st April 2005, then his commuted pension will get restore on 1st April 2020. Taking the 15 years duration into account.

Watch more details on Commuted Pension in the video below.

Central Board of Trustees Meeting Decisions – August 2019

This meeting was held on 21st August 2019 at Hyderabad, under the provision of the Labour Minister, Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar. Here, we will discuss the 5 major PF decisions taken during the Central Board of Trustees meeting.

1. Minimum pension demand to increase to Rs 2000

The current minimum pension amount is set at Rs 1000 per month. Earlier, when the Central Trade Union and Pensioners put forth a demand to increase this minimum pension amount, the government formed a High Empowered Monitoring Committee to check on this matter. This committee further recommended increasing minimum pension to Rs 2000 per month. When the government brought this decision forth in the Central Board of Trustees meeting, all the employees’ representatives were unhappy and asked for further increase. CITU also put forth their views stating that Rs 2000 per month was insufficient to run a household.

Thus, Labour Minister Mr Gangwar took the decision to defer this matter until he meets and discusses it with the Finance Minister, along with the other members of the Central Board of Trustees. Since this raise in minimum pension would affect the EPFO and the government as the money will come from them. So without the Finance Ministry’s approval, this cannot move forward. The proposed time period for this discussion is a week, but this cannot be said for certain.

2. Commuted pension

Before 2009, employees with Pension scheme had the option to take a lump-sum amount from the Pension, right after exiting their job. This would reduce their pension amount per month later but they would gain a big sum at the beginning. This was known as Commuted Pension and around 6.5 lakh pensioners went in this direction. Additionally, the Pensioners Union had made a request to restore the reduced monthly pension scheme of the commuted pensioner, after a period of 15 years. Now, this plea has been approved at the Central Board of Trustees meeting. But this will require an amendment in the EPS Act, 1995. Hence, the change will take some time to come into action.

3. EPF to be applicable in Jammu & Kashmir

Since the abolition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, all national-level acts will begin to be implemented in the region now. The Central Board of Trustees has given authority to the Central Provident Fund Commissioner to implement the Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, in the two newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Currently, about 28 lakh employees there were covered under the J&K’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organization. But now they will be replaced to the national level PF Act. Additionally, the EPFO has been asked to provide all facilities in the regions for banking arrangements, contribution remittance, setting up of offices and more.

4. EPF corpus investment

The Central Board of Trustees took some strict decisions regarding the investment of PF funds into the economy. Firstly, the PF Department has to exercise an early exit option on the Rs 600 crore investment it made to DHFL. This was supposed to be an investment till 2024, but seeing how DHL was faulted in paying returns for the first investment, the PF Department will have to exit early. The PF department has already had a loss of Rs 574 crore which it had invested in the IL&FS. Due to this, all investments in private sector companies and bonds have been put on hold. Although, PF will continue to invest 15% in equity via mutual funds. 50% of this will go towards Nifty and 50% towards Sensex.

5. Pension for seasonal employees

Seasonal employees who usually work four to eight months in a year did not get any pension earlier. But now these seasonal employees will receive a pension. Furthermore, the pension calculation will be based upon the worth of a full working year.

Choosing the right investment vehicle for your retirement is a decision that requires careful consideration. Our analysis comparing the National Pension Scheme with other options like PPF, EPF, and ELSS offers insights into the benefits and drawbacks of each. This comparison can help you decide which scheme best suits your financial goals and retirement plans. Evaluate your options and determine the best strategy for your retirement savings here.

You can watch more details of these decisions below in our video.

Stay ahead in managing your retirement savings and understanding the intricacies of EPF schemes and labor laws. Subscribe to our newsletter – ‘The Success Circle‘ for the latest insights, updates, and guides tailored to help you make informed decisions about your financial future. From understanding new amendments to maximizing your pension benefits, our newsletter has you covered. Subscribe now and take the first step towards securing a financially stable retirement.

Heena Siddique
Heena Siddique
Bibliophile. Turophile. Foodie. Tea enthusiast. Shopaholic. Sitcom addict. Movie buff.

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