EPFO tightens norms around Provident Fund inquiries under Section 7A

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has recently issued Guidelines for Initiation of Inquiries under Section 7A (“Guidelines”) of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (“EPF Act”)[1]. Section 7A is the provision under which PF commissioners (who are vested with the powers of a civil court), can initiate an inquiry, by order, to determine (i) the applicability of the EPF Act to an establishment in case of a dispute; and (ii) to determine amounts due from any employer under the EPF Act and its schemes.

The EPFO has recognised that currently, assessing officers are following different yardsticks for initiating inquiries under Section 7A, which often leads to inquiries being initiated for wholly insufficient and untenable grounds, causing general resentment among the employers on one hand and prolonged pendency of inquiries on the other. The Guidelines have been issued to prevent such deleterious effect.
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The Maternity Leave Incentive Scheme, 2018 for working women in India

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (MB Act) was amended in 2017 (Amendment), to enhance/ increase the maternity leave period to 26 weeks from the previous 12, for a woman employee, for the first two children. This blog follows on from our previous posts wherein we discussed the obligations under the Amendment that were solely applicable to an employer. Read our previous post here.

Since the Amendment was aimed to ensure the health of women employees pursuant to giving birth, and to also ensure safety of the new born child, it appeared to be a positive development for women employees in the private sector. However, the implementation of the Amendment has been inadequate and ineffective.
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Protection and Control) Act, 2017

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Protection and Control) Act, 2017 (the Act) was enacted on September 10, 2018.

The Act was introduced since India is a signatory to the United Nations’ Declaration of Commitment on Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 2001.

The Act provides for the prevention, control and protection of human rights of persons affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
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Indian Industrial Law - Wages

In its judgment dated September 20, 2018, the Supreme Court of India (SC), in the matter of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Jaipur vs. Shri Phool Chand[1] (Phool Chand) has ruled on a worker’s (workmen as per Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) entitlement to back-wages, if he/she his reinstated.

Under Indian labour and industrial laws, the provisions pertaining to a worker’s entitlement to back-wages is covered under the legal regime of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (ID Act).

In this regard, the ID Act stipulates that a worker[2] will be entitled to back-wages during pendency of proceedings.
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Sec 377 LGBT Employment in India

The Supreme Court of India has held Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) to be unconstitutional, in so far as it penalises any consensual sexual relationship between two adults, be it homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians (Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India and Ors. (2018) (Johar Judgment). By way of this landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has overruled its earlier decision in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation (2013), whereby, the validity of Section 377 of the IPC had been upheld.
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