EPF account interest for FY 2017-18 still not credited: Here's what we know so far
It's learnt that data is being uploaded and sent to regional offices under the new mechanism, so the delay.
As per The Employees' Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 rules, "Interest shall be credited to the member's account on monthly running balances basis with effect from the last day in each year". Going by this, the interest for the FY should get credited by March 31 of each year. This time, there appears to be a longer than usual delay in this process and has become a topic of discussion on social media platforms.
ET Online has written emails to the EPFO head office seeking reasons for the delay and a probable timeline by which the interest would get credited. However, we are yet to get a reply.
Meanwhile, there are few responses available on social media where some employees had raised similar queries with regional offices of the EPFO and had purportedly received replies from them. In one instance, the reply has been - "It is to inform that the compilation of annual accounts is being under process, however, as per manual accounting system of this office, it will be compiled on or before 30.09.2018."
In another such reply from a regional office, it appears that ECR (e-Challan cum Return) revision has been the reason for the delay. The reply says - "Annual account has not yet been compiled for both 2016-17 and 2017-18 due to ECR revision and request of the employer. The annual account is likely to be compiled before October 2018. Only while compiling annual accounts, interest will be automatically credited to individual accounts."
While we were unable to independently verify the original source of these replies on social media, unofficially, it is learnt that under the new online mechanism, the data is being uploaded and sent to the regional offices all across the country and hence, the delay. Some employees, therefore, will be able to see the updated PF statement as and when their regional office receives the data from head office.
For the financial year 2017-18, the interest rate of 8.55 percent on PF balance was declared in February 2018. In the previous years, it was 8.65 percent for 2016-17 and 8.8 percent in 2015-16.
The new online mechanism
The erstwhile ECR portal of the EPFO was operational till 6.00 p.m. on December 17, 2016. ECR is the online platform for filing of the mandatory returns by employers. It is filed monthly and contains member-wise details of the wages and contributions, including basic details of the members. Once the migration and switchover to the next version of ECR under the unified portal was done, the revised portal was launched on December 20, 2016.
The changes in ECR 2.0 is for both existing and new employees. In both the cases, whether it's for a new or existing UAN, it requires the allotment of UAN upfront and the ECR can be filed only in case of such members where UAN has either been allotted to member or the previous UAN has been linked to his present employer.
Prominent changes in ECR 2.0
Among the changes are: the member ID has been discarded and the UAN will be the key field in the ECR. The uploaded name of the member will be for display only. The remittance will go against the UAN with whatever name is there in the UAN repository. In addition, a new field for gross wages has been added. So now, in addition to the basic salary, the total monthly emoluments will also be disclosed to the EPFO.
For employees leaving the job and wishing to withdraw their PF, the credit of interest is expected to happen as and when they withdraw, according to sources. For others, who are still working, there could be a delay in the credit of interest but it is expected that EPFO being a government backed institution won't default.
In the meantime, as an employee, whether new or existing, one needs to ensure a few things. Just uploading the KYC documents with a valid UAN will not help. Make sure that it is linked to your employer. Ask your Accounts or the HR department to confirm it.