The Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the deadline till June 26, 2023, for applications regarding pension on higher wages. The earlier deadline was May 3, 2023. The Ministry of Labour & Employment on Tuesday said more than 12 lakh applications have been received regarding this so far.

"Many representations have been received from various quarters seeking extension of time. The issue has been considered and it has been decided that in order to provide a larger window of opportunity and in order to enable all eligible persons to file their applications, the timeline for filing applications would now be till 26th June 2023," the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the timeline is being extended to facilitate and provide ample opportunity to the pensioners/members so as to ease out any difficulty being faced by them. "This has been decided after sympathetically considering the various demands received from employees, employers and their associations," the ministry said.

In November last year, the Supreme Court mandated EPFO to provide four months period for eligible members to opt for higher pension. The four-month period was to end on March 3, 2023, but was later extended to May 3, 2023. The Supreme Court upheld the Employees Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014, which raised the pensionable salary cap to ₹15,000 a month from ₹6,500 per month and allowed members, along with their employers to contribute 8.33% of their actual basic salaries (if it exceeded the cap) towards the Employee Pension Scheme (EPS).

According to EPFO, employees and employers who had contributed on salary exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of ₹5,000 or ₹6,500 per month and did not exercise the joint option and were members before September 1, 2014, and continued to be members would be able to use the joint option for higher pension.

The Employee's Pension Scheme (EPS) was introduced in the year 1995. The scheme, which is administered by the EPFO, provides employees with a pension after they reach the age of 58. Both the employee and the employer contribute 12% of the employee's basic salary and Dearness Allowance (DA) to the EPF. While the employee's entire part goes to EPF, the employer's contribution goes to EPS at a rate of 8.33%.

In February this year, the employee body added 13.96 lakh net members, slightly lower than the 14.86 lakh subscribers added in January this year. Out of 13.96 lakh members added during the month, around 7.38 lakh new members have come under the ambit of EPFO for the first time. Among the newly joined members, the highest enrolment is registered in the age group of 18-21 years with 2.17 lakh members, followed by the age group of 22-25 years with 1.91 lakh members.

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