The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has been working towards speeding up claims settlement or withdrawal processes amid the lockdown imposed in the country to prevent the spread of covid-19. In a move in the same direction, EPFO has allowed employers to send the one-time registration of digital signature (DSC) or Aadhaar-based e-sign request to the regional EPFO office on email. Earlier, the employers were required to send the one-time registration request physically to their regional EPFO office.
"The digital signature or e-sign of the employer has a validity of one-two years. After that they have to renew it. After renewal, the employer has to again get the digital signatures registered with EPFO," said one of the EPFO officers, on the condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Due to the lockdown, many employers are facing difficulties in sending the one-time registration requests physically to the regional offices, as courier or postal services are not working.
“An employer can send the scanned copy of the duly signed request letter to the concerned regional office through email. Official email addresses of regional offices are available at www.epfindia.gov.in," said EPFO in a circular dated 6 May 2020.
The DSC or the e-sign of the employer are needed for performing many important tasks such as Know Your Customer (KYC) attestation for the employees, transfer claim attestation etc by the employers or the persons authorised by the employer using the digital signatures. Without a digital signature, the employer can’t approve or attest to any of the online requests of the employee.
So, if an employee has applied for the claim and there is a change in the KYC details of the employee such as a change in the bank account number in which the employee wants to receive the claim, the employee can make the change online, but it has to be approved by the employer using a digital signature. Without the approval of the employer, the KYC updation can’t happen.
“The circular enabling employers to obtain email confirmations for DSC and online signature is welcome. The objective is to facilitate employers to go ahead with important tasks such as KYC attestation, transfer claim attestation etc. These attestations are to be done online by the authorized persons of employers using their digital signatures (DSC) or Aadhaar based e-signs on EPFO portal for which one-time approval is now being facilitated through emails. This would ultimately help the timely processing of employee claims," said Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Partner, Deloitte India.