In the eyes of the EPFO, the staff of temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras and other religious institutions are equal to the workers of any other company.
According to a recent notification by EPFO, all charitable and religious trusts should "extend social security benefits" to "all eligible employees of such establishments" with effect from April 1 this year. This means, religious institutions and charitable trusts employing 20 workers or more will have to deposit employees' provident fund with the EPFO.
The UPA government had exempted trusts receiving grants-in-aid from the Central or state governments from the purview of the EPF Act. "The Centre has decided to cover all such establishment under the EPF Act as it feels all employees should be covered by the social security scheme irrespective of the nature of the establishment," Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan told Business Standard.
According to existing rules, any establishment hiring 20 or more workers should contribute a part of employees' income towards EPFO. The government wants to lower the threshold to 10 workers. However, this proposal is yet to reach the Cabinet.
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