NEW DELHI: With just four days left to the June 26 deadline to submit the joint option for higher pension, applicants and employers continue to grapple with multiple technical glitches that are posing difficulties in submitting the application through the unified EPFO portal. TOIhas learnt several employers petitioned the PF fund manager to extend the deadline and simplify the application process.
Issues persist despite being red flagged by EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees as well as by employer organisations. For instance, apart from unexpected technical errors at the application and approval levels, concerns regarding the inability of the Universal Account Number (UAN) to fetch an employee’s complete service record for being considered for higher pension still persist and grievances raised to EPFO’s email ids for employer and employee feedback are not getting any response.
HR experts also pointed out that though employers and employees were permitted to edit or update employee data on the EPFO portal, such correction is now only possible through the EPFO. This data updation through EPFO not only takes over two months and slows down the processes, but it also increases the fund manager’s own burden of work.
Additionally, the process is riddled with inconsistent practices across regional PF offices. For instance, the Mumbai RPFC allows employers to edit and update submissions made by employees — for instance, details of Aadhaar, PAN or date of birth. The central PF office, however, only allows changes through EPFO.
This means that applications for higher pension cannot be filed without updating the EPFO database, something HR experts say can be easily fixed by syncing the higher pension portal with the existing pensioners/employers portal, where much of the relevant data already exists.
Another major concern in the application process on the employer side is the EPFO’s refusal to link pre-September 2014 employment with an employee’s current UAN if the new employment after September 2014 is above the actual basic salary of Rs 15,000. The pension fund manager has also failed to address the problem of nonavailability of full salary data (beyond seven years) with employers, and has not factored in any provision that gives employees an opportunity to use the last or latest data for the older period.“Although this may require the employee to transfer a higher amount from his PF account to his pension fund, it will result in higher accruals for EPFO,” an HR expert said, expressing hope that the government will fix the concerns at the earliest, or extend the deadline.