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To help tide over hardship caused by the corona virus lockdown, Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) rules will be relaxed, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced today. EPF subscribers can now withdraw 75% of their PF balance or 3 month wages as a non-refundable advance, whichever is lower.

Currently non-refundable advances are permitted only for specified purposes such as housing, marriage etc. Even these are permitted where the employee has put in a minimum services period.

The finance minister's proposal will enable employees to withdraw up to 75% of the PF balances limited to 3 months wages as non refundable advance enhancing liquidity of employees.

The finance minister also said that the government of India will pay the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) contribution, both of employer and employee, put together 24% of an employee's basis salary, for next 3 months. This is applicable for those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90% of them earn less that ₹15,000.

These moves will benefit lower paid employees and is a timely move. Formal notifications of these changes should be coming soon in official gazzette.

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