I still smile when I think about the time when I left my first job. I had certain issues with my boss and I was too young to realize that situations in working life require calm and composed nature. I had an argument with my boss and within a week’s time, I searched a new and better job for myself. But there was a problem, my new organization wanted me to join within next two days and as per the rules, of my soon to be ex-organization at that time, I was required to serve one month notice.
Without much thinking, I kicked off my job and joined. My 10 days salary with the previous employer was gone.
Fine enough! Not a big deal, but what about my EPF? I visited my previous office after 2 months, filled a form for EPF withdrawal and asked the authorized person to verify and sign it. But the authorities refused to sign the form and instead asked me to give 3 months salary to them. In frustration, I told them that I am going to file a case against them and the next meeting will now be there in the court. Next day I got a call from the accountant and he asked me to send a form so that they can sign it. I was happy to learn that I have scared them with my warning. Though, it was a separate fact that ultimately I had to transfer my EPF as I was still in job.
Is it obligatory for previous employer to sign?
At that time I thought that it was my attitude that helped me get the signature done. But today I know that by law, an employer cannot deny to sign EPF transfer or withdrawal. Every month employer deducts your contribution towards EPF from your salary and deposits it with the EPFO along with an equal contribution from his side. Once the money is out of the hands of the employer, it becomes your money and employer loses any control on it. However, employer’s signature is required on your EPF withdrawal form to certify that you are not in service with the organization any more.
Can a previous employer be sued for not signing the form?
Yes, he can definitely be sued for not cooperating you in the withdrawal process of your EPF money. If you have sufficient documentation against him that can prove his unnecessary rejection to sign then you put forward this information to your regional Provident Fund Officer. Upon enquiry, if your previous employer is found guilty then a legal action can be taken against the organization and even lead to imprisonment of the concerned person.
Circumstances when you can’t get your previous employer’s signature
- There are many cases where the organization people have been working for is closed without clearing all the formalities and now it is not possible for you to take your employer’s signature.
- You have resigned without serving the notice period and due to this the employer is not supporting you in the withdrawal process.
- Your relationships with the previous employer are messed up and he has rejected your request to sign the EPF withdrawal form.
Is it possible to withdraw EPF without employer’s signature?
First and foremost is to check your balance through EPF passbook. It will clearly tell you that what is the actual amount you are going to get and how much is your employers contribution to that.
Yes, it is possible to withdraw your EPF without the signature of your previous employer. The process is simple and easy to follow. You need to have your EPF number with you. All you have to do is:
- Download and fill Form 19 and Form 10 C for EPF withdrawal.
- Get the forms attested by manager of a public sector bank or any gazetted officer or magistrate or post master or through notary.
- Write a letter to the PF Commissioner mentioning the reasons why you are not able to get it signed by your previous employer.
- If you are not employed anywhere then you need to attach an affidavit on a stamp paper of Rs. 100 duly attested by the notary or gazetted officer.
- Submit all the forms and document to regional EPFO.
- In the event of successful processing of your application, money will be transferred in your account.
- However, no action has been taken by the EPFO within few months then you can file RTI application to concerned EPFO.
If you are already in service then legally you cannot withdraw your EPF. In such a case, it is only transferable.
Know your rights and learn to take actions at right time. Remember, EPF can be withdrawn even without the signature of your previous employer but it requires your sincere efforts and several follow ups.
Update as on Oct 2014: