Photo Credit: Twitter / @socialepfo
Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) official website on Monday appeared to have been facing an outage, a couple of days after the government announced the Pandemic Advance Facility relief measures amid the novel coronavirus lockdown. On March 28, the Ministry of Labour and Employment announced that the government will amend regulations to enable workers enrolled under the scheme to withdraw three basic months worth salary or 75 percent of the accumulated provident fund - whichever is lower. The measures were part of the Rs. 1.70 lakh crore economic package, introduced by the Ministry of Finance to tackle economic distress caused due to coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
To recall, under the EPFO scheme, a small portion of an employee's salary is deducted by the respective employer and then added to a PF account. This aforementioned monthly amount which is eventually added to the PF balance acts as a safety net for the employee in the long run. In case of emergency, and in other select cases, the government does allow partial withdrawal of PF amount from the subscriber's PF account under certain EPFO guidelines. The amendment that was announced by the government on Saturday, therefore, will aid all thousands of workers enrolled under the scheme, who are currently facing economic distress due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although banks are exempted from the lockdown, many workers looking forward to availing the EPFO services were hoping to turn towards online facilities to ensure social distancing as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gadgets 360 tried reaching out for an official confirmation from the government over the EPFO website's reported outage, however was unable to establish contact. The cause of the reported outage is also unknown, though it is possible that the announcement triggered a sudden spike in traffic as people flocked to the site - thus overloading the EPFO portal.
Meanwhile, a website that tracks the outage-related information, showed that the EPFO website was in fact, down.
To check the PF Balance via online, SMS or missed calls, users' can follow the link to know more. In many instances, users would be required to give their universal account number (UAN). To check their UAN, users can find the relevant information either on the salary slip or the EPFO Member Services Portal.