Employers from across the nation have begun sending their digital signatures to the Employees Provident Fund, with Kochi firms leading others in sending the largest number of such signatures.
The signatures are needed to begin online transfer of provident fund and the signatures would be used for verification in the future.
EPFO has set a seven day deadline for all employers with more than 1,000 workers for sending digital signatures. This is part of an effort to put in place a system of online transfer of provident fund claim settlements.
The Chief Provident Fund Commissioner KK Jalan has written to all the 122 Provident fund offices in the country indicating timelines for implementing the online transfer scheme.
In a letter dated July 31, he said, "I would emphasise that all employers who have employees strength more than 1,000 should be asked to give their digital signatures within next seven days. It s not difficult to do so as all these employers in any case will have their digital signatures for some other purposes."
Employers with an employee strength between 100 and 1,000 have been given more time.
The EPFO has set a target of covering 50% of thee employers by August 20.
PF offices also have been asked to introduce amended transfer claim forms in every region from August 20.
A campaign has already been launched to motivate employers to give their digital signatures. Once the transfers begin online, the time taken for the procedure of settlement of claims is expected to come down from the current 30 days to just three days.
The EPFO has so far received 675 digital signatures from various employers. The largest number of such signatures were received from employers in Kochi in kerala, officials said.
Taking the first step towards launching online PF transfer claims, EPFO had earlier this month unveiled a revised claim form for the purpose.
EPFO is likely to start the online PF transfer claim facility by the end of August. This would enable EPF subscribers to apply online to transfer their accounts through their new employers. The revised transfer claim form can be presented after verification by the present employer or the previous employer. Previously, the form could be submitted only after verification by the present employer.