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Best year for employees? From Provident Fund UAN to new NPS – All that changed in 2019

Check all PF-related changes of 2019. Representational image

The year 2019 brought several good news for employees. The government approved 8.65 per cent interest on PF contributions. For traders, a new pension scheme was announced for the first time. Not just this, the EPFO provided facility to generate UAN for PF accounts online. Two mega pension schemes were also launched during the year for old age protection and social security of unorganized workers. The government took steps for codification of existing Central labour laws into four codes by simplifying the relevant provisions of the Central Labour laws. Before we enter 2020, here’s a look at all that changed for employees this year:

Shram Suvidha Portal: Ministry of Labour & Employment has developed a unified Web Portal ‘Shram Suvidha Portal’, to bring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws and ease complexity of compliance.

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM): It is central sector scheme open to unorganised workers, whose monthly income is Rs.15000 or below and who has an Aadhar number as well as savings bank / Jan-Dhan account. The minimum age for joining the scheme is 18 years and the maximum is 40 years. Under the scheme, the minimum assured monthly pension of Rs 3000 will be provided to the beneficiaries from the age of 60 years onwards.

National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeepers and Self-Employed Persons: Under the scheme, traders in the age group of 18-40 years with an annual turnover, not exceeding Rs.1.5 crore and who are not a member of EPFO/ESIC/NPS/PM-SYM or an income taxpayer, can join the scheme. Fifty per cent monthly contribution is payable by the beneficiary and equal matching contribution is paid by the Central Government. Subscribers, after attaining the age of 60 years will be eligible for a monthly minimum assured pension of Rs.3,000. As many as 20,000 beneficiaries under NPS-Traders were enrolled till 10.122019.

Provident Fund Changes

Online UAN generation: Now any workers can obtain Universal Account Number (UAN) directly on EPFO website which enrols them for PF, Pension and Life Insurance benefits and a worker need not depend on his employer alone for UAN.

EPS Pensioner’s PPO in DigiLocker website/Application (APP): EPFO has integrates with DigiLocker of NeGD to create a depository of electronic PPOs which is accessible to individual pensioners.

e-Inspections: Digital interface of EPFO with employers: The E-Inspection Form would be available in user login of employers not filing ECR which enables the employer to inform either closure of business or unpaid dues with proposal for payment.

8.65% interest on PF: Central Board of Trustees, EPF recommended crediting of 8.65% rate of interest on Accumulations in the EPF Member’s Account for the year 2018-19.

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Employees’ Pension Scheme changes

EPS amendment: Central Board of Trustees (CBT) EPF approved the proposal to recommend for amendment in Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) 1995 for restoration of commuted value of pension to the Pensioners after 15 years of drawing commutation. This will benefit approx. 6.3 lakhs pensioners.

Launch of Revamped EPFIGMS 2.0 Version: The Chairman CBT also launched the revamped EPFIGMS 2.0 version to benefit over 5 crore subscribers and lakhs of employers by speedy and smooth resolution of grievances.

Selection of ETF Manufacturers: CBT approved the decision to choose the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) manufacturers through public bidding by 30/10/2019, extension of the term of the present ETF manufacturers (SBI MF and UTI MF) till then and also to authorised the Finance Investment & Audit Committee (FIAC) to conduct the exercise of choosing ETF manufacturers.

Allocation of investment in Nifty 50 and Sensex: The CBT approved the proposal that the fund allocation between Nifty 50 and Sensex ETFs be divided evenly, i.e. in the ratio of 50% to 50%.

Appointment of a Consultant in addition to M/s. CRISIL Ltd: The CBT approved the nomination of members from employer’s and employee side in a Committee constituted to select and appoint a separate Agency/Consultant in addition to M/s. CRISIL limited, inter-alia to review the working of the Portfolio Managers (PMs), assist the investment Committee in redemption of ETFs, etc.

Appointment of Portfolio Managers for managing funds of Central Board, EPF: The Central Board of Trustees approved Request for Proposal (RFP) document for appointment of Portfolio Managers and recommendation of the FIAC on appointment of Portfolio Managers.

Early redemption options available in DHFL Bonds: The CBT approved for early redemption option in DHFL bonds recommended by FIAC.

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ESIC decisions

Rate reduction in ESI Contribution: The ESI Corporation reduced rates of ESI Contribution being paid by employees and employers covered under ESI Scheme from 6.5 % (Employees’ share 1.75% & Employers’ share 4.75%) to 4% (Employees’ share 0.75% & Employers’ share 3.25%) with effect from 01.07.2019.

Health Passbook for ESI Beneficiaries: ESIC introduced a Health Passbook for ESI Beneficiaries in Phased manner.

Ayushman Bharat for ESIC members: ESIC decided to provide cashless medical care services to entitled Insured Persons and Beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat package rates in newly implemented area of 102 designated Districts through PMJAY empanelled hospitals up to a maximum limit of Rs.5.00 lakh, beyond which individual case will be channelled to ESIC for seeking approval for further expenditure on ESI beneficiaries. Similarly, PMJAY beneficiaries may get in-house medical treatment services as per Ayushman Bharat approved packages from underutilized ESI Hospitals.

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Source: Financial Express