Anonymous
Learned members, I had a question pertaining to 'contract workers' engaged by a principal employer through a contractor and their EPF contributions. I am of the understanding that the EPF contribution is to be made by the Contractor (whereby, the ultimate responsibility to ensure such payment lies with the principal employer) as per para 30 of the EPF Scheme. The impugned contract between the contractor and the principal employer expressly mentions that the employees engaged by the PE are the employees of the contractor and provides the salary breakdown (mentioning various components) and also mentions that the PE shall provide the EPF amount to the contractor. Whether such a contract which shows that the PE is giving EPF contribution to the contractor is illegal or otherwise unsustainable? The contractor received some benefits under the PMRPY Scheme and subsequently, the PE is seeking reimbursement

It would be very helpful if you can provide any legal provisions or any precedent on the same.

From India, New Delhi

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Since, you yourself mentioned in your query that the contract between the principal employer and the contractor was well written, then there is no question of the principal employer asking any amount which the contractor has received/refunded back under any scheme. Conversely, if the principal employer insists on asking back that amount, then the contract is likely to be declared as merely a 'sham' and the principal employer may be held to be the actual employer of the contract labour. The principal employer cannot even ask it back under any provision of law.
If he asks, then there are other ways to react.
I hope I have answered your query.

From India, Faridabad

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