EPFO Pension New Update: Big relief to employees!: In a welcome development for thousands of employees and pensioners, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has extended the deadline for a crucial process related to higher pension options. This move comes in response to the appeals made by employees and employer unions, who sought more time to complete this important procedure. With this extension, employees and pensioners now have until December 31st to submit their salary and allowance details, providing them with greater flexibility and convenience.
Background on the Higher Pension Option:
The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) had introduced the option for employees to choose higher pension benefits. This option allows members to increase their pension contributions, specifically up to 8.33% of their full salary (Salary-DA). This significant change was first added to section 11(3) of EPS-95 in March 1996. However, this option came with a caveat: members had only six months to file the Joint Option Form to choose the higher pension benefit.
Supreme Court Intervention:
The recent extension of the deadline is the result of a Supreme Court order issued on November 4, 2022. The court mandated that the EPFO provide all eligible members with a four-month window to select the higher pension option. This four-month period concluded on March 3, prompting the need for further extensions to accommodate members who wished to exercise this option.
Employee Demands and Ministry Response:
As of September 29, 5.52 lakh applications for the verification of salary allowances were pending with the appointing authority. Recognizing the backlog and the appeals made by employees and employer unions, the Labour Ministry decided to extend the deadline for submitting salary details and related information until December 31st. This extension aims to ensure that employees and pensioners have ample time to make informed decisions regarding their pension benefits.
The Path Forward:
This extension is a welcome relief for employees and pensioners who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to secure higher pension benefits. It underscores the importance of flexibility in government policies to accommodate the needs and preferences of the workforce. With this extension, individuals will have more time to gather the necessary information and make choices that align with their financial goals and retirement plans.
In conclusion, the Ministry of Labour and Employment’s decision to extend the deadline for the higher pension option is a positive development that demonstrates the government’s commitment to the welfare of employees and pensioners. This extension not only aligns with the Supreme Court’s order but also reflects the government’s responsiveness to the demands and concerns of its citizens. As the deadline now stands at December 31st, eligible members should take advantage of this opportunity to secure a more comfortable retirement future through the higher pension option.