Formal job creation witnessed a sharp recovery at the beginning of the current fiscal year. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) added 17.88 lakh members in April, according to the data released by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday. This is the first time in four months that new members have increased under EPFO. In January, February, and March, EPFO added 14.86 lakh, 13.96 lakh and 13.40 lakh members, respectively.

The Employee's Pension Scheme (EPS) was introduced in 1995. The scheme, 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%.

Out of 17.88 lakh members added during the month, 8.37 lakh employees registered in the age group 18-25 years constitute the bulk of new registrations, which is 47% of the total employees. In March, this age group constituted 56.6% of the total new members. This is crucial as most of the first-time employees are aged between 18-25 years.

Genderwise, 3.53 lakh female members were added under EPFO in April. In March, the enrollment of net female members stood at 2.57 lakh.

The development comes months after the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund in March, suggested an 8.15% interest rate on EPF accumulations in members' accounts for the financial year 2022-23. Last year, the EPFO slashed the interest on EPF to over a four-decade low of 8.1% from 8.5% in 2020-21.

Moreover, in April, EPFO extended the deadline till June 26, 2023, for applications regarding pensions on higher wages. The earlier deadline was May 3, 2023. According to the ministry, the timeline was being extended to facilitate and provide ample opportunity to the pensioners/members to ease out any difficulty being faced by them. 

Meanwhile, a total of 63 transgender employees have been registered under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme in April. Of the 17.88 lakh members added during the month, around 30,249 new establishments have been registered and brought under the social security umbrella of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) in April.

Incorporated in 1952, the ESI scheme provides protection to employees against the impact of incidences of sickness, maternity, disablement and death due to employment injury and provides medical care to insured persons and their families under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948. The ESI Scheme applies to factories and other establishments viz. road transport, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, newspaper, shops, and educational/medical institutions wherein 10 or more persons are employed. However, in some states, threshold limit for coverage of establishments is still 20.

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