New Delhi: The Ministry of Labour & Employment has implemented the decision to cut employees' provident fund (EPF) contributions to 10 percent from the existing 12 percent for three months till July. This would increase 4.3 crore organized sector employees' take-home pay and reduce the liability of 6.5 lakh employees reeling under liquidity crunch under lockdown to contain COVID-19. The decision is estimated to infuse liquidity of Rs 6,750 crore in the next three months. The labor ministry in a notification issued on Monday stated that the reduction in EPF contributions shall be applicable "in respect of wages payable by it for the months of May, June, and July 2020". Therefore the take-home pay due in June, July, and August would increase, while the employers' contributions due in June, July, and August would reduce. Giving a reason for the move it stated, "Whereas due to COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown is in force across the country and the Central Government after making the necessary inquiry is satisfied that to provide liquidity in the hands of employers and employees, there arises a need to amend the notification of April 9, 1997." Last week, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a reduction of statutory provident fund contribution by both employers and employees for the next three months. The Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and public sector undertakings (PSUs) will, however, continue to contribute 12 percent as an employer contribution to the Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). This reduction of the EPF contributions will be applicable for workers who are not eligible for 24 percent EPF support under PM Garib Kalyan Package and its extension. The government is contributing employers and employees contributions of 24 percent of basic wages for those establishments that have up to 100 employees and 90 percent of whom earn under Rs 15,000 monthly wage since March. Last week, Sitharaman had also announced the extension of the benefit under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for three months, where the government would contribute an entire 24 percent of EPF contributions till August, giving relief to 3.67 lakh employers and 72.22 lakh employees.
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