Tuesday, 24 February 2015

What is Employee Provident Fund?

Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is one of the main platforms of savings in India for nearly all people working in Government, Public or Private sector Organizations. This article is about what is Employee Provident Fund(EPF), Employee Pension Scheme(EPS), Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLIS), how the contributions are calculated based on basic salary and dearness allowance, what are the EPF interest rate, how much would one save in EPF, how would one know about the amount accumulated in PF.

What is Employee Provident Fund?

A provident fund is created with a purpose of providing financial security and stability to elderly people. Generally one contributes in these funds when one starts as employee, the contributions are made on a regular basis (monthly in most cases).  It’s purpose is to help employees save a fraction of their salary every month, to be used in an event that the employee is temporarily or no longer fit to work or at retirement.  The investments made by a number of people / employees are pooled together and invested by a trust.
Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is implemented by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) of India. An establishment with 20 or more workers working in any one of the 180+ industries should register with EPFO. Typically 12% of the Basic, DA, and cash value of food allowances has to be contributed to the EPF account. EPFO is a statutory body of the Indian Government under Labour and Employment Ministry. It is one of the largest social security organisations in the world in terms of members and volume of financial transactions undertaken.
EPFO logo
EPFO logo


The Constitution of India under “Directive Principles of State Policy” provides that the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old-age, sickness & disablement and undeserved want.
The EPF & MP Act, 1952 was enacted by Parliament and came into force with effect from 4th March,1952. A series of legislative interventions were made in this direction, including the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. Presently, the following three schemes are in operation under the Acts:( Click on the link if interested in reading the acts which are in pdf format)
Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) of 1995 offers pension on disablement, widow pension, and pension for nominees. EPS program replaced the Family Pension Scheme (FPS). It is financed by
diverting 8.33 percent of employer’s monthly contribution from the EPF(restricted to 8.33% of 6500 or Rs 541) and government’s contribution of 1.17 percent of the worker’s monthly wages.
The purpose of the scheme is to provide for
1) Superannuation Pension:Member who has rendered eligible service of 20 years and retires on attaining the age of 58 years.
2) Retiring Pension:member who has rendered eligible service of 20 years and retires or otherwise ceases to be in employment before attaining the age of 58 years.
3) Permanent Total Disablement Pension
4) Short service Pension: Member has to render eligible service of 10 years and more but less than 20 years.
Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLIS)Under the EDLI scheme life insurance cover is provided to the PF members. The cost of the scheme is borne by the employer but as the amount of life coverage under this statutory scheme is very low (a maximum amount of Rs. 60,000), usually employers opt out of the EDLI scheme by going for group insurance scheme which usually provides higher coverage to employees without any increase in cost to the employer.
EPF, EPS and EDLIS are calculated on Basic salary,Dearness allowances(DA), cash value of food concession and retaining allowances if any.Most of the organizations  follow Basic+ DA Method.
Retaining allowances means an allowance payable for the time being to an employee of any factory or other establishment during any period in which the establishment is not working, for retaining his services.
Table below gives the rates of contribution of EPF, EPS, EDLI, Admin charges in India.
Scheme NameEmployee contributionEmployer contribution
Employee provident fund12%3.67%
Employees’ Pension scheme08.33%
Employees Deposit linked insurance00.5%
EPF Administrative  charges01.1%
EDLIS Administrative charges00.01%
In industries like beedi, jute, guar gum factories, coir industry (other than spinning sector) the Employee contribution is 10% while employer’s contribution is 1.67%.
Employees drawing basic salary upto Rs 6500/- have to compulsory contribute to the Provident fund and employees drawing above Rs 6501/- have an option to become member of the Provident Fund. It is beneficial for employees who draw salary above Rs 6501/- to become member of Provident Fund as it is deducted from the salary before it is deposited on bank or given hence compulsorily saving happens.Employee’s contribution is matched by Employer’s contribution(till 12%) so extra money and it is helpful for tax purpose too. The employer contribution is exempt from tax and employee’s contribution is taxable but eligible for deduction under section 80C of Income tax Act.

Calculation of Employees Provident Fund Contributions

Basic salary of Rs 3500
Let us calculate the contribution of an employee who is getting a basic salary of Rs 3500.
Contribution TowardsCalculationAmount
EPF Employees share3500 x 12%420
EPS Employer share3500 x 8.33%292
EPF employer share3500 x 3.67%128
EDLI charges3500 x 0.5%18
EPF Admin charges3500 x 1.1%39
EDLI Admin charges3500 x 0.01%0.35 ( round up to Rs 1/-)
Basic salary above Rs 6500
In such cases companies uses different method for calculation as per their  pay roll policy. Consider an employee getting a basic salary of 7500/- We can calculate it in different ways but EPS is calculated only up to 6500/- that means the maximum amount is fixed to Rs 541.00. The three methods mentioned below are based on the above example.
If company consider total basic salary above the limit fixed 6500.00 for PF calculation. Employer has decided to contribute on total basic salary which is 12 % on 7500.00 equal to 900.00. EPS Share is fixed to 541. Balance (900-541) goes to EPF account 359.00. You may be thinking that, what about 3.67%?, Here you don’t need to care about it.
Contribution TowardsCalculationAmount
EPF Employees share7500 x 12%900
EPS Employer share6500 x 8.33%541
EPF employer share7500 x 12% (-) 541359
EDLI charges7500 x 0.5%38
EPF Admin charges7500 x 1.1%83
EDLI Admin charges7500 x 0.01%0.75 ( Round up to Rs 1/-)
Method -2
Some companies follows the below method in which employee share is calculated on 7500/- and employer share is calculated on up limit Rs 6500/-
Contribution TowardsCalculationAmount
EPF Employees share7500 x 12%900
EPS Employer share6500 x 8.33%541
EPF employer share6500 x 3.67%239
EDLI charges6500 x 0.5%33
EPF Admin charges6500 x 1.1%72
EDLI Admin charges6500 x 0.01%0.65 ( Round up to Rs 1/-)
Some companies calculate both employer and employee shares on 6500/- in spite of higher basic salary than 6500.00
Contribution TowardsCalculationAmount
EPF Employees share6500 x 12%780
EPS Employer share6500 x 8.33%541
EPF employer share6500 x 3.67%239
EDLI charges6500 x 0.5%33
EPF Admin charges6500 x 1.1%72
EDLI Admin charges6500 x 0.01%0.65 ( Round up to Rs 1/-)
EPF scheme allows partial withdrawals for the purpose of marriage/illness/higher education/house construction etc.
Q. What is the interest on the PF accumulations ?
A : Compound interest as declared by Central Govt. is paid on the amount standing to the credit of an employee as on 1st April every year.
Q. What is the EPF Interest Rate?
The EPF interest rate of India is decided by the central government with the consultation of Central Board of trustees. In the past several decades, the interest rate has ranged from 8-12 % of the balances maintained in the fund.  The EPF interest rate notification is available on the official website of EPF India on an annual basis. The same is communicated through major dailies in all cities. To see Interest rate over the years from 1952 please click the image to enlarge.
EPF interest years since 1952-53
EPF interest years since 1952-53
Q. How much would one save by investing in EPF?
Let’s say Swayam starts with a basic salary of Rs. 20,000. Every year, on an average, he gets a 5% increment. He started at 25 years and worked till 60 years so his working life is, 35 years. He contributes 12% of his basic salary towards PF which is matched equally by one’s company, (EPF contribution is 3.67%, EPS 8.67%).
In this case, over the course of 35 years of his working life, his  total contribution is Rs. 26.01 Lakhs. Of course, his company makes a contribution of Rs. 7.955 Lakhs, total contribution of Rs 33.967 lakh. And this amount grows into – Rs. 1.38 Crores at the time of his retirement!
EPF how much
EPF Benefit
(Image courtesy Livemint)
How is it calculated?
At the beginning of each year there would be opening balance, the amount accumulated till then. Contribution is made monthly but interest is calculated yearly. On gets interest on opening balance and monthly contribution. So for next year the new opening balance would be: old opening balance + contribution throughout the year + interest on the (old opening balance + contribution)
To see the calculation for each year in above example click on the image below. 
EPF amount calculation
EPF calculation
Q. How would I know the amount of accumulations in my PF account ?
PF office sends an annual statement through the employer which gives details about the PF accumulations. The statement contains details like, Opening balance, amount contributed during the year, withdrawal during the year, interest earned and the closing balance in the PF account. This statement is sent by the PF department on completion of the financial year. Sample statement is shown below.
PF account statement
Sample PF statement

Q. Is it also possible to check the EPF Account balance online?
From July  2011 one can check the EPF Account balance online.  Follow the following steps.
1) Go to www.epfindia.com/MembBal.html
2) Select EPFO Office where PF account it maintained. Suppose the account is in Punjab. Select Punjab from the Drop Down.
3) Select the office name: Once you select state in earlier state, it would then show code for various EPFO offices in Punjab. Say your EPFO office was in Ludhina. So select the office name Ludhiana, the establishment code would be LD-LDH. This would take you to next screen which has LD LDH filled for establishment code.
4) Enter PF Account Number which is in the format :
EPFO Office Code/Establishment Code(Max. 7 Digits)/Extension(Max. 3 digits)/Account Number (Max 7 digit)
PF Account Number may not have Extension code, in that case leave it blank.
Enter the Account Number.
Note: Your PF account number may have just two alphabets for EPFO Office Code then you can search the new Code at EPFI Establishment Information Search This is also available on 1st step mentioned above: Member Balance Information Search Your Establishment Code here.
5) Enter your Mobile and Name, Accept Terms and condition and Submit.
Sequence of steps is shown in the images below. Click on image to enlarge.
EPF Know your balance instructions
Know your balance Instructions
Select PF office
Select PF office
EPF Select PF Office Code
EPF Select PF Office Code
EPF Enter account Number
EPF Enter account Number
You will get SMS alert from EPFO : EE amount : Rs XXXXX and ER amount Rs:XXXXX as on <Today’s Date>(Account updated upto Date).
EE = Employee Contribution and ER = Employer Contribution on date(shown in Account updated date) mentioned in your SMS. It does not show current balance of PF  Account as on Today
Q.Which form has to be filled while becoming member of provident fund?
To become a member of the Employee Provident Fund one has to fill Form 11 and Nomination Form. For more details check out EPFI webpage  for Employees. Sample images of the Form 11 and Form 2(front and back) are given below. Click on the image to enlarge.
Form 11
Form 11
Form 2 Front
Form 2 Front
Form 2 back
Form 2 back
Q. Can I voluntary contribute more than the statutory limit to EPF?
You can contribute additional amount (over and above 12%) to Provident Fund by depositing VPF (Voluntary Provident Fund). However, employer is not bound to do a matching contribution.The employer is liable to pay contribution only on 6500 whatever is the basic salary. This is called voluntary contribution and a Joint Declaration Form needs to be filled up where the employer and the employee both have to give a declaration as to the rate at which PF would be deducted.

Pension Benefits

Q: When can an employee start receiving a Pension?
A employee can start receiving the pension under EPS only after rendering a minimum service of 10 years and attaining the age of 58/50 years.However, no pension is payable before the age of 50 years and early pension after 50 years but before the age of 58 years is subject to discounting factor @ 4% (w.e.f. 26.09.2008) for every year falling short of 58 years. In case of death / disablement, the above restrictions doesn’t apply.
Q: How long the pension is available?
A: Lifelong pension is available to the member and upon his death members of the family are entitled for the pension.
Q: What is the formula for calculating the monthly pension?
A:Under Employees’ Pension Scheme, the monthly retiring pension is decided on the basis of ‘Pensionable Service’ and ‘Pensionable Salary’ and is worked out as follows
Monthly pension=( Pensionable salary*Pensionable service)/70
Pensionable Salary is arrived at by considering the average contributing salary immediately preceding 12 months from the date of exit from the scheme, normally this would be limited to Rs 6,500 p.m. unless certain enhanced contributions are made by the employer with permission. Pensionable Service is the service in years rendered by the member for which contributions have been received maximum cannot exceed 35 years
Q: What is the maximum amount of Pension available under EPS?
A: Based on a maximum employment period of 35 years, and maximum contribution of Rs 6500, the maximum amount of pension as per the Pension formula would be = 6500 * 35)/70 = Rs 3,250 per month or  Rs. 39,000(3250 * 12) per year.
Q. Is the Monthly Pension paid under EPS just?
The amount of pension is meager. If one would have invested Rs 541 in a recurring deposit at the rate of 8% for 35 years one would get 12,49,263 as maturity amount. If this maturity amount is put in buying the Pension plan say LIC’s Jeevan Akshay VI and put the above amount Rs 12,49,263 in the premium calculator of LIC with option as Annuity payable for life, one would get montly pension of Rs 10,150 which is much more than Rs 3250.
In this article we covered about EPF, EPS, the calculation etc. In the next article we shall cover about how to withdraw or transfer from EPF, EPS. Difference between EPF and PPF? If you find something missing or incorrect please let us know, we shall correct is As Soon As Possible(ASAP). Hope you found this article helpful. What are you thoughts on EPF? Does it make sense to contribute to EPF?