RSS affiliated trade union Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has alleged that the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) contributions of lakhs of low-wage workers are pending with the employers as they are unable to remit monthly contributions due to the mismatch of details in the EPFO database and Aadhaar cards of employees.
The problem cropped up after the government notified Section 142 of the Social Security Code, 2020, to enable the Ministry of Labour and Employment to collect Aaadhaar details for the database of beneficiaries under various social security schemes.
BMS said that despite a clarification from the Ministry of Labour and Employment that it can't mandate Section 142 of Social Security code, 2020, on the existing ESI Act, without notifying the entire code, the EPFO is insisting on validating Aadhaar, and unless all details like name, date of birth, gender matches, it is not allowing employers to pay the contributions.
In a letter to labour minister Santhosh Gangwar on June 12, BMS wanted the EPFO to be asked to accept the contributions if the Aadhaar number is furnished -- without validating the parameters by giving sufficient time to the members to rectify the mismatch -- to safeguard the interests low wage earners.
According to Binay Kumar Sinha, general secretary, BMS, the scheme is mandated for low-wage earners (Rs 15,000 or below per month) and most of them are illiterates, and are unaware of their date of birth, which is recorded in the EPFO and Aadhaar. Most of the disallowed account numbers pertain to this category, he says.
"By delaying contributions, employees will be deprived of their statutory benefits like PF and pension as non-receipt of contribution will cause breaks in service while calculating pension," the letter pointed out.
On the notification, BMS said the decision was implemented all of a sudden and a notification was issued with regard to the provision of Section 142 of the Social Security Code, before it was fully notified. "Only one provision was brought into force without giving sufficient time to employers, due to which lakhs of employees' contributions are being held up with the employers, and there is a chance of misappropriation of funds deducted from employees as their share of contribution," the letter said.
On May 5, the labour minister had clarified that the section under the Social Security Code was notified only for the collection of data of workers, including migrant workers and no benefit will be denied to workers for want of Aaadhaar.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today