The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) set May 3 as the deadline for subscribers to opt for a higher pension, reported Press Trust of India.
The Supreme Court on November 4 allowed another change for employees who were existing EPS members as on September 1, 2014, to contribute up to 8.33 per cent of their actual salaries - as against 8.33 per cent of pensionable salary capped at ₹15,000 a month - towards pension.
The apex court gave a four-month window to enable opting for higher pensions. The deadline accordingly should have been around March 3, 2023, but EPFO only last week came out with the procedure for opting for higher pension under the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS).
"The joint option for employees who were in service prior to September 1, 2014, and continued to be in service on or after September 1, 2014, but could not exercise joint option under the Employees' Pension Scheme can do so now on or before May 3, 2023," EPFO said on its website.
At present, both employees and employers contribute 12 per cent of the employee's basic salary, dearness allowance and retaining allowance, if any, to the employee provident fund or EPF
Earlier, there were apprehensions that March 3, 2023, will be the last date for opting for a higher pension.
Last week, EPFO came out with a procedure to enable subscribers and their employers to jointly apply for a higher pension under the Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS).
Apex court’s order
In November 2022, the Supreme Court upheld the Employees' Pension (Amendment) Scheme 2014. The EPS amendment of August 22, 2014, had raised the pensionable salary cap to ₹15,000 a month from ₹6,500 a month and allowed members along with their employers to contribute 8.33 per cent of their actual salaries (if it exceeded the cap) towards EPS
The apex court in its order gave four more months to eligible subscribers to opt for higher pension under EPS-95.
The court had also struck down the requirement in the 2014 amendments mandating employee contribution of 1.16 per cent of the salary exceeding ₹15,000 per month. This will facilitate the subscribers to contribute higher to the scheme and get enhanced benefits accordingly.
The EPFO circular had also provided for the higher pension option for those eligible subscribers who either contributed on actual wages higher than ₹5,000 or ₹6,500 per month prevalent threshold pensionable salary or exercised their option for higher pension or their request for higher pension was declined by EPFO authorities before the amendment to EPS-95 in 2014.
The eligible subscribers would have to apply jointly with their employer for the enhanced benefit in the application form prescribed by the commissioner and all other required documents like joint declaration etc.