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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Govt to consider unions' reservations in EPF Act amendments

Govt to consider unions' reservations in EPF Act amendments 

NEW DELHI: Government will consider trade unions' reservations on a proposal that would enable the Centre to reduce or waive off mandatory PF contributions by employees in certain cases. 

The move was proposed under the amendments to the Employees' Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act. 

"Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told us that the government will consider the reservations to the proposed amendments to EPF Act which would have enabled the Centre to reduce or w .. 

The Labour Ministry had called a meeting of stakeholders, including employers' representatives and unionists, to discuss the Bill for amending the EPF Act, which governs Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). 

During the meeting, all the unionists did not favour the amendment which would empower the Centre to waive off mandatory PF contributions by the employees. 

As per the proposed changes, the Centre would take a decision in this regard to waive off PF contributions on the basis of financial position of a class of industry or other circumstances. 

The source further revealed that the Minister has assured to withdraw the proposed amendments in the Act to reduce the number of representatives of employers and unionists on the retirement fund body's board. 

The employers and employees have an equal number of 10 representatives on the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) and this is proposed to be reduced to 5 members from each side. 

The CBT is the apex decision-making body of the EPFO, which is headed by the Labour Minister. 

Besides, Dattatreya has also assured the participants withdrawal of the proposed amendment that mandates no representative of the employers' as well as employees' shall be member of board for more than two terms consecutively. At present, there is no such restriction. 

The source said that government will also look into the concerns raised against the proposed amendment that changes the definition of "appropriate government". It is proposed that appropriate government can be Centre or state. 

However, the unionists as well other participants expressed reservation against this, saying that since this is central Act, the appropriate government for the purpose of implementation should only be the Central Government. 

The unionists have also opposed the proposed amendment to time bar the investigation of PF cases to five years. That means, EPFO would not be able to open any complaint regarding PF which is older than five years. 

On the amendment, the employers' representatives said that sometimes it is difficult for them to find out and produce old records. 

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