Switching jobs? Don’t forget to check your EPS service history

Whether you are nearing retirement age or are much younger, ensure that your EPS records are accurate when switching employers.

Switching jobs? Don’t forget to check your EPS service history

The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a social security scheme operated and guaranteed by the Government of India. It pools the retirement savings of employees and invests them in order to provide them with financial security. With the introduction of Universal Account Number (UAN), transferring EPF has become seamless for employees changing jobs. Employees now need to file Form 11 New to transfer their EPF balance, if they have enabled their UAN.

Related: How does a lower EPF contribution impact your retirement savings?

Why is EPF transfer so important?

Earlier, old EPF accounts could be retained without any restrictions. Since a PF account always accrues interest, it was a harmless thing to do. At 8.65%, the returns from EPF are very competitive compared to other investment options. So, why transfer? 

In the event that an employee decides to leave his current employer, their PF balance continues to grow in value by way of interest. Under the new EPF withdrawal rules, the interest earned from the date of leaving is now tax-deductible. However, the principal balance remains tax-exempt as before. If you have been unemployed for two months or more, you can withdraw your PF amount in full to meet living expenses. 

As is well known, the EPF rules for employers mandate a contribution of 12% of basic salary as a retirement benefit, which is to be equally matched by the employee. 8.33% of the employer’s contribution is diverted to EPS. However, this is calculated on Rs 15,000. In the event, the basic pay earned is less than Rs 15,000, EPS is deducted at the rate of 8.33% on the entire amount, while the rest goes to PPF.

The latest EPF rules impose restrictions on the amount that can be withdrawn. If you remain unemployed for a month or more, you are eligible to withdraw up to 75% of the corpus. Further, if your search for a new job takes two months, you can withdraw the entire PF balance.

Related: 6 Things you must do with your EPF to secure your future

Benefits of EPF transfer online?

The process of transferring an old EPF account to a new employer has become easier than ever, thanks to the Employee Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) e-Sewa member portal. All you need is an active UAN (universal account number) linked to Aadhaar to seamlessly raise a claim or check the status of a transfer. On confirmation, the proceeds are credited to the bank account nominated by you within days. 

The UMANG mobile app platform, launched in 2017, also allows you to file a claim and check the various EPF accounts you have had with different employers instantly.

Related: How to check your EPF Balance

Is your online EPS file up to date?

Unlike EPF, EPS cannot be transferred between two employers. It is held in trust by the EPFO. Your overall employment tenure and the last salary drawn determines your EPS balance. You would not see a closing balance against the EPS head in your EPFO passbook. Since it does not accrue interest, no tax is applicable as with EPF.

To avoid issues while filing a claim, ensure that any discrepancies in particulars such as birth date and father’s name are rectified.

Related: 10 Things you must know about the Employee Pension Scheme

Can EPS be withdrawn prior to retirement?

If you have been working for less than 6 months, you are not eligible to withdraw EPS. If you switch employers and have been working for less than 10 years, withdrawal is allowed. For those opting to stay invested in EPS, the balance is credited along with accrued interest when the employee files a transfer request via Form 10C. Beyond 10 years of service, your EPS corpus can only be redeemed in the form of pension on retirement.

EPF: hold or sell?

If you are a risk-averse investor who has been working for many years, withdrawing EPF can adversely affect your financial prospects, post retirement. However, if you are still young, you can withdraw from EPS and invest the proceeds to build a diversified investment portfolio. The deciding factor, of course, must be your short-term and long-term financial goals. Consider your overall lifestyle aspirations and make a balanced decision.

If you decide to extend your retirement till 60, you gain 4% on your pension benefit. Conversely, if you choose to claim pension after turning 50, the amount payable is reduced by 4% for each year until retirement age. If you are changing jobs, log on to the e-SEWA portal to ensure that your service period has been updated for the purpose of pension calculation.

How to track an EPS amount from multiple employers?

If you have been working for less than 10 years and want to transfer your EPS balance, you are required to fill Form 10C every time you switch jobs. This enables the EPFO to update your service record with the number of years worked. This information reflects on the EPS Scheme Certificate. Employees can log on to the e-SEWA portal to track the updates made to it by the EPFO.

Related: What happens to you EPS account when you transfer your EPF account?

How does one calculate pension?

Pension is calculated at the rate of 8.33% on basic pay of a maximum Rs 15,000. The following formula is used to calculate pension: Pensionable salary X Service period / 70. Pension payments are capped at Rs 7,500 a month.

What happens if an EPS subscriber dies before retirement?

An employee's family is eligible for pension in case of death before retirement if he has made at least one contribution towards EPF. Regardless of whether an employee dies at work or after office hours, in that case too, his family is eligible for pension benefits. The deceased employee’s spouse and 2 minor children below the age of 25 are eligible for a pension.

Conclusion

It is important to remember than an employee does not contribute towards EPS directly. It is the employer’s contribution that adds to the EPS corpus. If you have been working for 10 years or more, EPS can provide a stable income for post-retirement years.

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