Protecting Your Provident Fund Corpus
We have come across a number of cases where accumulated Provident (PF) Balance is not in good shape. While there could be many reasons but mostly the problem comes while transferring the PF. It often takes inordinate amount of time and in many cases the transfer just does not happen.
The Employee Provident Fund Organization (EPFO, a Government of India organization) is making efforts in the right direction. They are Computerizing in Phases & have already deployed new facilities like E Passbook & Grievance Management System (GMS). Further, with UID Aadhar Card, we may get lucky in the near future, not needing to transfer the balance every time there is a job change.
However, what do you do if you currently have an issue with your PF Transfer? Here are some tips:
Identify where the transfer is stuck:
For PF Transfer, normally below parties are involved:
Your new employer
The Receiving PF Office (where your new Employer maintains their PF Accounts)
The Sending PF Office (where your old Employer maintains their PF Accounts)
In some cases, the Receiving and Sending PF Office may be the same. You would have used Form 13 and submitted to your new Employer. Firstly, please ask your new Employer to provide you an acknowledgment of Form 13 submission to the Receiving PF Office. Based on this, you can chase the receiving PF Office and check further with the sending PF office as the case may be. Meeting the PF Officials in person is a good idea though this may not be feasible if this office is not in the same City.
Track the status of your transfer request on the EPFO Website
Please click here to visit the EPFO Site & track the status of your request. You will have to select the State of the PF Office, select the Regional PF Office where your PF Account is maintained and enter the establishment code & Account number. Please note that in most cases, the extension code field (Second last box from right side) needs to be left blank.
Generate the E Passbook for old and new accounts
Your E Passbook will give you the exact status if the PF Transfer has taken place or not. Please click here to visit the EPFO website and generate your E Passbook. In one registration, you can have up to 10 PF Accounts with different organization. However, you will not be able to download E Passbook for more than one account with the same organization. If your passbook is not ready, you will have to wait for few days. Recently, we are observing many cases of delays here. The good part is that they will intimate you via SMS when your passbook is ready for download.
Raise & adequately document your Grievance.
Please click here to visit the online tool for raising your Grievances with EPFO. If you do not know where your PF Transfer is stuck, then it is recommended that you should raise separate grievances with both the concerned PF Offices (i.e. Sending as well as Receiving). Please carefully preserve the Grievance number. So far, we have not observed a good track record for Grievance resolution through this online tool. So if you do not see any response or action in couple of weeks after having raised the grievance, it will be a good idea to send a physical letter detailing your grievance and mentioning the Online Grievance Tool Reference number. It is advisable to use speed post for sending such correspondence to the concerned PF Office. You should also keep your both New & Old employer in the loop.
If you still do not see any action or resolution to your grievance, next step would be to make an application under RTI and send it to the Public Information Officer under the respective PF Office. Along with the application, you will need to send a Postal Order for Rs. 10, favoring the respective Accounts office (e.g. Accounts Officer, EPFO New Delhi). There is no fixed format for application as such. You should briefly and clearly explain the background and query the status of your Grievance. Again, please include reference of your original complaint on EPFO’s Grievance Management Tool and attach copies of earlier correspondence. Normally, you should receive the response within 30 days for an application filed under RTI. In case of no response or unsatisfactory resolution, you could go in for an appeal process under RTI. Please click here to know more about RTI. If you like, you can also escalate your grievance to the Cabinet Minister in charge of Labor Ministry in the Central Government.
Your PF may have been maintained at your Company’s PF Trust. In this case, you should simply chase your Old Employer.
We normally do not recommend you to withdraw your PF balance. In any case, if you are finding issues with your PF Withdrawal, the steps would be similar. You should check with your Old employer, raise a grievance with the respective PF Office in the Online Tool, formally document the Grievance and finally use RTI.
Remember, this is your hard earned money & no one else but you have to protect it.