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Pandemic-hit salaried class suffer another blow as virus scare infects EPF office

The staff at the Employees Provident Fund regional headquarters in Royapettah are in a state of panic, after a few of them tested positive for coronavirus. A visit by the DT Next to the office revealed that it is now closed for public as two of the employees who tested positive were working at the office till Friday.

Pandemic-hit salaried class suffer another blow as virus scare infects EPF office
EPF headquarters at Royapettah closed for public


The PF headquarters worked as usual till last Friday, clearing the claims. But it was closed after a few staff tested positive for COVID. The Ayanavaram branch of EPF office also reported COVID case last week.

According to official sources, the work pressure on the staff had increased by several folds, as COVID-hit Chennai accounts for more than 40 per cent of the claims, followed by Chengalpattu that has several IT companies and industrial units, sources said.

Since April, thousands of claims are being processed from each district every day, and the workload is continuing to remain high, said R Kirubakaran, secretary-general, All India EPF Employees Association.

“Workload has piled up due to increased EPF claims. Both the public and government should understand that the EPF staff are working under great stress. Not more than 35 per cent of the manpower is allowed to work at the office. More should be moved to work-from-home to protect employees from the infection,” Kirubakaran added.

“Several companies have stopped paying salaries, which is the main reason for workers withdrawing their PF money. Left with no other option, PF office is now the only respite for the salaried class,” said K Vettrivelan, who runs a private consultancy handling PF-related work for corporate companies.

“After three days of sanitisation, we were told that the manual operations will again resume at the headquarters from Friday. However, online claims are cleared. Recently, the PF office had also made a provision under which the employees can withdraw from the previously accumulated funds even if multiple accounts are not merged,” Vettrivelan said.

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