The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has issued a fresh standard operating procedure (SOP) describing the process through which the proposals of establishments seeking exemptions from the operation of employee provident fund (EPF) scheme are to be examined and forwarded with recommendations by the field offices to the head office.
In an internal circular sent to all its field offices in late August, this fresh SOP provides for the standardisation of the administrative procedures for the grant of exemption, prescribes the documents, the formats, the channel and timelines for various scenarios of granting of exemption; and defines the mechanism for monitoring, feedback and stakeholder engagement.
The new procedure contains direction for the establishments, regional offices, zonal offices and head office. Upon receiving recommendations from the field offices, the head office will then examine and obtain recommendations of its committees and the central board to communicate for the consideration of the government.
Exempted establishments are those which have been granted exemption under Section 17 of the EPF and MP Act, 1952 and manage the provident fund of members themselves under the overall supervision of the EPFO. While exemption for the establishment as a whole is regulated by Section 17(1) of the EPF Act, the exemption for a class of employees is regulated by Section 17(2) of the Act; the enabling provision enshrined in Para 27A of the EPF Scheme, 1952.