Petition turned down, EPFO tells vet varsity to deposit employees’ share

The exemption plea of the university was rejected since it did not fulfil the conditions laid down by the EPFO
Published on Dec 16, 2019 10:36 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByHarvinder Kaur, Ludhiana

Rejecting Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University’s (GADVASU’s) plea for exempting employees’ share for past months, the regional office of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has ordered the university to deposit the pending amount of 3.6 crore immediately.

The exemption plea of the university was rejected since it did not fulfil the conditions laid down by the EPFO.

It is worth mentioning here that the EPFO had initiated an inquiry against the university in October 2017 after the latter was found committing a default worth 8.5 crore in respect of extending benefits under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions
Act, 1952, to all of its eligible employees.

As per the EPFO records, more than 500 employees of the university, mostly working on a contractual basis from 2006 to 2007, were not covered under the PF scheme.

The EPFO recovered the employer’s share worth 4.5 crore out of the total defaulting amount after attaching one of the bank accounts of the university in September following which the university had filed a plea for relaxing employees’ share to PF.

The orders issued by regional PF commissioner-2 Brij Mohan Singh stated, instead of submitting the documents asked by the EPFO, the university had tried to misguide the authorities by delaying tactics and had unreasonably demanded opportunities to delay payment time and again.

“The establishment has indicated that due to lack of knowledge and ignorance, it could
not deposit EPF dues on time. The reason for ignorance of the Act by the state government machinery cannot be considered as a valid ground for
non-deduction of employees’ share of contribution,” the order read.

The EPFO said, “The university has specialised departments, including administration, finance, accounts and legal and also a separate comptroller of finance to have easy access to all expert and legal services and opinions, therefore, its ignorance is unjustified.”

Employees liable to EPF are poor labourers: GADVASU

In its reply to the EPFO, submitted in the first week of December, the university had stated that employees on whom the liability of provident fund (PF) is being imposed are poor labourers working on bare minimum wages and cannot make the contribution towards provident fund for the past years.

‘GADVASU CAN’t RECOVER SAHRE FROM EMPLOYEES’

However, the EPFO rejected claims of the university saying that an employee can be asked to deposit the PF share of the current and one more month, after which even the employee’s burden of share is to be borne by the employer.

The office stated that the employer also had no authority to ask its employees to pay the PF contribution for the past months.

“The establishment has adopted delaying tactics and, in spite of affording multiple opportunities, it has neither submitted a complete set of
consent letters in respect of 2,455 employees nor provided an affidavit that it owns full responsibility to deposit the employees’ share of contribution,” read the orders issued by RPF commissioner.

Brij Mohan Singh, regional PF commissioner-2, confirmed that that the office was in the process of recovering the employees’ share from the university.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021