Some of you out there may have spent a fair amount of time at a job and accumulated a sizeable Employee Provident Fund (EPF) chunk over that time. Now, to get hold of all that money, you need to get your EPF withdrawal form signed by your employer.
However, for reasons best known to you, your employer either doesn’t want to cooperate, or you just don’t want to set foot in those infernal premises ever again. In fact, there could be a variety of reasons that you want to withdraw your EPF without your previous employer’s signature, such as the closure of the company, withdrawal of your EPF without handing in your resignation or without serving your notice period etc.
Additional Reading: Proposed EPF Rules
So, what exactly can you do about it? Well, for starters you could head over to the EPFO (Employee’s Provident Fund Organisation) directly and try and get your money without getting your EPF form attested by your employer.
If you’re feeling a bit jittery about it, don’t be! Just know that you aren’t the only one who happens to be in such a predicament. There are tons and tons of people all over India just like you who want to withdraw their EPF amount without getting in touch with their employer.
While most people are either apprehensive or unaware about how to go about this process, you will be glad to know that it can be done as long as you know the rules and procedures involved.
Additional Reading: Now Withdraw From EPF Without Restrictions
In case you didn’t already know about the EPF withdrawal rules, let’s go over them once again so you don’t go about fumbling in the dark:
- Your EPF amount can be withdrawn if you haven’t started working elsewhere within two months from the date of your resignation from your previous job. This 2 months period could be waived off in case you get a job opportunity abroad or if you are a female member who has quit her job to take care of her new born child. You will need to submit proof in both cases.
- You will be able to withdraw your EPF in case of special circumstances such as for repaying a Home Loan, for your marriage and medical emergencies. There will be restriction on the amount of EPF that you can withdraw.
- Within a time frame of 30 days from the time of submission, the employer is required to submit the EPF withdrawal form with an attestation.
- Any PF amount withdrawn prior to the completion of at least 5 years of unbroken service will be taxable.
While the rules make no mention of whether an employer can withhold an employee’s EPF, there have been cases where employers force employees to serve their notice periods by denying approval of the EPF withdrawal form.
However, the EPFO has now made it easier for employees to withdraw their EPF without the approval of their employer through the use of the Universal Account Number (UAN).
Here’s how you can go about it:
1) With Aadhaar Number
With the EPFO linking Aadhaar with EPF withdrawal, it has made the entire process extremely easy. By submitting your Aadhaar number to the PF office, you will not need any sort of approval or authorisation from your employer to withdraw your PF. However, there are some conditions that need to be met before you can make your withdrawal:
- It is mandatory for you to have an UAN. However, you will need to ask your employer to create an UAN number. You can check if your employer has already registered you for UAN by visiting the EPFO website. You can activate the UAN number online.
- It is mandatory for you to submit your bank account as well as your Aadhaar number with the UAN database
- Your Aadhaar number should have been corroborated by your employer
Additional Reading: Aadhaar Number Mandatory For EPF
If you have fulfilled the criteria mentioned above, then withdrawing your EPF money should be a walk in the park since the EPFO will just corroborate your identity with your Aadhaar details and deposit the funds into the account that has been verified by your employer.
Make sure you follow the steps below:
- Go online and download the new EPF withdrawal form.
- Fill in the relevant details such as UAN, mobile number, date of leaving etc and make sure they match with the details present in the UAN database.
- If you want to withdraw your EPF then you will be required to fill in Form 19.
- Make sure a cancelled cheque, which contains the same account number as the one in the UAN database, is also attached to the duly filled in form.
- Submit the form at your regional EPF office.
Additional Reading: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Single Page EPFO Withdrawal Form
2) Without Aadhaar Number
While this may be an old way of withdrawing your EPF without the signature of your employer, it is still the only way you can get your money if you don’t have an Aadhaar number yet.
The drawback with this method however is that you will be required to corroborate your identity since your employer has not provided verification of the same. Due to this, you will need to get your EPF withdrawal form attested by any of the following authorities:
- A bank manager (preferably from the same branch where you have your account )
- A gazetted officer
- A magistrate/Post/Sub Post Master/President of Village Panchayat/Notary Public
Things To Keep In Mind
- Make sure that every sheet of the application form is stamped and signed.
- You will need to provide a letter stating why you’re applying directly for EPF withdrawal.
- If you have any written proof that your employer is not co-operating with you, then make sure you attach it when you submit your application.
- Make sure you attach copies of other documents such as your salary slip, offer letter, company ID etc to add weight to your claim.
Additional Reading: Withdraw From EPF Pension Account With Aadhaar
It is always advisable to adopt the first method when applying for EPF withdrawal since it is less time consuming and not as cumbersome as the second method. Also, the chances of rejection increase if you decide to adopt the second method.
In any case, it is still preferable to come to a consensus with your employer when it comes to EPF withdrawal. If you find yourself in a trying situation, you could try and adopt the following methods:
- Make your employer aware that you are well within your rights to request him or her to sign the EPF withdrawal form. In fact, your employer is bound by law to do so.
- Try and see if you can get a colleague of yours who you used to work with to act as a bridge between you and your employer.
- Make sure you get everything in writing instead of communicating with your employer verbally. This will keep him or her honest.
- If nothing works out, try taking legal action since it is against the law for your employer to keep you from withdrawing your EPF money.
- You could also file an online grievance through the EPFO portal. Make sure you attach any proof that will substantiate your claim.
Additional Reading: 10% Equity Investment By EPFO – What It Means For The Aam Aadmi
In closing, while these methods and pointers should provide you with a way out in case your previous employer refuses to sign your EPF withdrawal form, it is still advisable to try and come to an understanding with your previous employer so that you can withdraw your EPF without too much hassle.