The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) recently announced relief to employers with deferred payment of contributions towards the social security schemes for March up till May 15. This extension has come in light of the current scenario of the nationwide lockdown. The original deadline for the contribution was due till April 15.
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In a statement, the Labour Ministry said, “Considering the unprecedented situation created by COVID-19 and lockdown announced by the Central Government from March 24, 2020 midnight onwards to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the due date for filing of Electronic Challan Cum Return (ECR) for wage month March, 2020 is extended up to May 15, 2020 for employers who have paid wages to their employees for March, 2020.”
The due date has been extended from April 15 to May 15, thereby granting a grace period of 30 days to companies and organizations, that are covered under the EPF and MP Act, 1952.
The statement further clarified that this decision of Ministry of Labour and Employment is to support and provide relief to employers of establishments which have disbursed wages for March, 2020 to its employees and an incentive to employers for wage payment to employees during COVID-19 pandemic.
With this grace period in play, approximately 6 lakh establishments will be benefitted, enabling them to file ECRs without default, disbursing salary to about 5 crore employees. As per guidelines, the employers are expected to declare in the ECR for March the date of disbursement of salary for the month.
The Electronic Challan cum Return, along with the declaration of disbursement of salary, plus the contributions and the administrative charges for the month of March are due on, or before, May 15. The employers will also be remitted from interest and penalty, should they follow the deadline of May 15, 2020.