EPFO moving towards automation; set to rationalise workforce for efficiency


The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is going to undertake an organisational restructuring through comprehensive rationalisation of its manpower and field offices. This is in keeping pace with the technological changes and evolving nature of social security in India.

The statutory body — under the ministry of labour & employment — has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to undertake a work study by one of the top 20 National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)-ranked institutes in the category of management.

The report needs to be submitted in six months’ time once the study commences on November 1.

EPFO said it is moving more from forceful compliance to voluntary compliance. And, in the future, it will be fully governed by technology.

“A lot of functions have been centralised and computerised like auto settlement of claims. Manpower is proposed to be utilised more in areas where personal interaction is required. Hence, better utilisation of the workforce has become the need of the hour. These main changes require a rationalisation of the workforce, thereby increasing operating efficiency of the EPFO,” it said in the RFP document.

EPFO is one of the largest social security organisations in the world with 67 million contributory members in 69 million establishments across India. In FY21, it processed 45.8 million claims, 14 per cent of which were “auto-processed.”

With its growing global footprint, EPFO also provides social security benefits to international workers. India is a signatory to bilateral social security agreements with 20 countries.

“The organisational structure, the re-deployment and disposition of manpower and the career paths and requirements of officers and staff, among others, need to be taken up as a comprehensive proposal for adoption. This is because the human resource component as well as the organisational structure across the country is prepared to absorb and exploit effectively the technology being envisaged,” EPFO said.

Currently, EPFO has 21 zonal offices, 138 regional offices, 114 district offices, five special state offices, one national training institute and five zonal training institutes. It employs 14,484 people even as 39.8 per cent of its positions remain vacant.

Last time the EPFO conducted a cadre restructuring was in 2016. In this, the basic structure of the organisation and various departments in the EPFO were changed.

“As five years have already elapsed since the last cadre restructuring, there has been massive changes in the social security scenario in India,” EPFO said.

The terms of reference of the study includes identifying and defining each role and key tasks and deliverables to eliminate redundancy in the workforce. This is keeping in mind the undergoing changes in IT systems and automation.

The EPF is a mandatory savings scheme under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. It is managed under the aegis of EPFO.

It covers every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed and certain other establishments, which may be notified by the central government even if they employ less than 20 persons each. The pay ceiling is Rs 15,000 per month. Persons drawing a pay above Rs 15,000 are exempt or can be enrolled on a voluntary basis.

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