1. Is there any prescribed period for eligibility of an employee to be covered under the Act?
Ans. No. The membership of an eligible employee under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is compulsorily from the first day of his appointment. Thus, all the eligible employees in the establishment are to be extended the benefits of the Act. It is made clear that in view of the Amendment to Para 26(2) of the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, there is no exemption for coverage of an employee when joining an establishment as covered under the Act. The amendment as made has also been upheld by the Supreme Court.1
On the point about coverage of an employee from the very first day of joining a covered establishment under the Act and the Scheme, the Bombay High Court has clarified that the Government of India has the power under section 7(1) of the Employees’ Provident Funds Act, to modify the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, 1952 from time-to-time, hence coverage of an employee from the day of his joining will not be illegal.2 For coverage of an establishment under the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, mere reliance on the report of Enforcement Officer indicating 20 or more employees in the establishment without positive supportive documentary material proof is not enough.3 The EPF Appellate Tribunal has rightly rejected the appeal filed by the petitioner when there were not 20 or more than 20 employees whereas as per Squad Officer of the EPF Department, more than 20 persons were found working.4
A Director or Managing Director is coverable under Provident Fund.5
- J.P. Tobacco Products v. Union of India, 1996 (I) LLJ 822 (SC).
- Kay Iron Works (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2007 LLR 175 (Bom HC).
- Fitness Point Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. Nashik v. Union of India, 2012 LLR 1190: 2012 (135) FLR 333, (Bom HC).
- Hotel Roopa, Mangalore v. Employees’ Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi, 2012 LLR 1238: 2012 (135) FLR 379 (Karn HC).
- Saheli Marbles Private Limited, Udaipur v. Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, Udaipur, 2015 LLR 1189 (Del HC).