Concerned over delays faced by its members in transfer of PF accounts, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has decided to set up a centralised clearing house for such claims.
The clearing house would operate on the lines of the centralised processing centre of the Income Tax department and would process and transfer all such claims electronically.
“EPFO has been receiving a lot of grievances from its members on the service delivery aspect and it has been observed that most of the grievances have its genesis in the transfer of accounts on change of job by the members,” said an internal circular of the agency.
Though a member’s claim is expected to be processed within 30 days, the EPFO’s systems that require physical movement of forms between offices, means that settlement of any claim can take as long as a year.
The EPFO has also called a meeting of regional PF commissioners next week to finalise the contours of the plan.
Under the proposal, on switching to a new job, the subscriber would fill up a web-based transfer claim application and submit a copy of it online to the EPFO, and a physical copy to the new employer.
Once the details on the digital form are checked by the previous employer, it would be sent to the centralised clearing house which would generate a detailed statement of the service period. Once approved by the clearing house, the data would be sent to the subscriber’s new employer and the subscriber’s account would be updated with details from the earlier account.
With high job migrations, the EPFO is also working on issuing portable PF account numbers to its members. But the clearing house is expected to streamline the processing of transfer claims and help in merging multiple PF accounts of existing members.
The move would also benefit the EPFO and cut down its workload dramatically. The EPFO contends that of the nearly 1 crore claims it receives annually, about 90 lakh pertain to transfer or settlement of accounts.