Net new enrolments with retirement fund body EPFO rose by 56 per cent to 11.55 lakh in October compared to 7.39 lakh in the same month last year, according to its latest payroll data, providing a perspective on formal sector employment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The net payroll additions, however, have registered a slight dip in October compared to 14.19 lakh in September this year, according to a statement by the Labour Ministry. Provisional payroll data released by the EPFO last month had shown that net new enrolments stood at 14.9 lakh in September this year.
Latest data released on Sunday showed that net new enrolments in April were in the negative zone at (-) 1,79,685 against the figure of (-) 1,49,248 released in November. This means that the number of members who exited the EPFO subscription was more than those who joined or rejoined the scheme.
Earlier in July, provisional data had shown net new enrolments for the month of April stood at 1 lakh, which was revised down to 20,164 in August and further lowered to (-) 61,807 in September and (-) 1,04,608 in October. The number of net new enrolments in May was also revised further downwards to (-)1,43,540 from (-) 97,988 estimated last month and (-) 35,336 estimated in the data released in September.
During 2019-20, the number of net new subscribers rose to 78.58 lakh as compared to 61.12 lakh in the preceding fiscal. The EPFO has been releasing the payroll data of new subscribers since April 2018, covering the period starting from September 2017.
The data also showed that during September 2017-October 2020, the number of net new subscribers was over 1.94 crore. According to a labour ministry statement on the data, in October 2020, around 7.15 lakh new members have joined the EPFO and approximately 2.40 lakh members exited during October 2020.
Roughly 6.80 lakh members exited and then rejoined EPFO, indicating switching of jobs by subscribers within the establishments covered by EPFO and subscribers choosing to retain membership by transferring funds rather than opting for final settlement. Exited members rejoining also indicate that workers are returning to their jobs with decline in active COVID-19 cases in India, it added.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it stated that the EPFO has added around 39.33 lakh subscribers during the current financial year (from April to October 2020). The data comprises members who have joined during the month and whose contribution has been received by the EPFO for the wage month.
As has been historically the case, the maximum number of net subscriber additions for October 2020 has been from the 18-25 age-bracket, possibly due to the nature of the demographic profile in India. The 18-25 age-group members can be considered as fresh hands in the labour market and have contributed around 50 per cent of the net subscriber additions for October 2020.
State-wise comparison of payroll figures shows that Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Haryana continue to remain at the forefront of the employment recovery cycle adding approximately 53 per cent of total net payroll addition (total of 39.33 lakh) in the first seven months period of current fiscal from April to October, 2020, across all the age groups.
Category-wise analysis of industry indicates that the 'expert services' category has continued its recovery, adding 60 per cent of the net payroll during the current financial year.
However, it stated that performance in other industry classification such as building & construction, trading-commercial establishments, engineers & engineering contractors and electrical, mechanical & general engineering products indicate that recovery has started picking up in other sectors as well.
Gender-wise analysis shows that around 2.08 lakh net female subscribers were added during October 2020. Women contributed around 21 per cent of the new subscribers for October 2020. The estimates are net of the new members enrolled, members exited and rejoined during the month, as per records of the EPFO. The estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year, it has said.
The EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised/ semi-organised sector in India. The payroll data is provisional since updating of employee records is a continuous process and accordingly gets updated in subsequent months, it added.