The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had announced that the deadline to link the Aadhaar card to the universal account number (UAN) was extended. The entity made the announcement on September 11, 2021, that the deadline is extended for establishments in the North East as well as certain other class of establishments till December 31, 2021. The EPFO also circulated this notice through its official Twitter account. This extension comes after the EPFO came to realise the severe inconvenience the previous deadline had put on both employees and employers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.The tweet from the EPFO’s official Twitter handle read as follows: Deadline for Aadhaar linking of UAN extended till 31.12.2021 for Establishments in NORTH EAST and certain class of establishments. Please check the circular here:” The circular was also attached to the post.
In the circular, the entity said that the EPFO, with prior approval from the central government extended the deadline of the Aadhaar-UAN linking process for filing Electronic Challan / Return (ECR). It mentioned the previous extension of the deadline to September 1, 2021. However, irrespective of this there were still challenges being faced by both employers and employees in accomplishing the task as there were corrections required in the majority of the Aadhaar card data of employees who were severely affected by the second wave of the pandemic this year.
“…Considering the challenges faced by the employers and employees in expeditious seeding of Aadhaar in UANs particularly in view of corrections required in Aadhaar data of employees in aftermath of the second wave of Pandemic, the EPFO with prior approval of the Central Government extended the time for mandatory seeding of Aadhaar in UAN for filing ECR up to 01 September 2021 which was communicated vide reference cited 2 above.”
The EPFO went on to add that it has noted that about 94 per cent of the contributory EPF members have linked the UAN to their Aadhaar in the seeding process. However, it was also observed that there was less seeding of the same in the EPFO’s administrative Zone of North Eastern Region and in certain classes of establishments/industries which include Beedi making, building and construction, as well as a plantation.
The circular went on to say, “Considering the low Aadhaar penetration in the EPFO’ administrative Zone of North East Region comprising of States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, time for mandatory seeding of Aadhaar in UAN for filing ECR is extended till 31 December 2021.” The same was announced for the establishments in the more remote localities, areas affected by insurgency, and the workers of the aforementioned sectors such as plantation, construction and Beedi-making.
“For areas and industries/class of establishments other than above, delay in filing of ECRs for wage months of August 2021 and September 2021 only in respect of EPF members due to non-seeing of Aadhaar in UANs should not be presumed as employer’s default for levy of penal damages u/s 14B of the EPF and MP Act, 1952.”
Speaking about the latest move, Sneha Padhiar, Partner at Bhuta Shah & Co LLP said, “The Government, in yet another step towards digitalisation, has made it mandatory for UAN to be linked to Aadhar as per section 142 of the code on Social Security, 2020. If you miss the bus, your employer will be unable to make monthly contributions to your Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account, and you will be unable to withdraw or transfer funds from your EPF account.”
“This link has two advantages for both employers and employees. This will allow an employee to transfer his EPF account balance in the case of job switchovers and faster claim settlement process…Read more>>