Defying the trend of job losses during the lockdown, more formal jobs were created under the Employees Provident Fund Organisation in April, which had seen local lockdowns in several states. EPFO added 1.27 million net new subscribers in the month, a growth of 13.7% compared to March at 1.12 million, shows the payroll data of EPFO on Sunday. Net new subscribers under the scheme had declined by 0.28 million in April last year during the nationwide lockdown.

As per the labour ministry’s provisional payroll data, of the 1.27 million net subscribers added during the month, around 0.68 million new members have come into the social security coverage of EPFO for the first time.

Further, around 5.86 lakh net subscribers exited and then rejoined EPFO by changing their jobs within the establishments covered by EPFO and hence chose to retain membership through transfer of funds rather than opting for final settlement, it said in a statement.

The net new subscribers added in April have been highest since April last year. So far, the highest addition of net new subscribers was in September 2020 at 1.21 millon.

“The payroll data is provisional since the data generation is a continuous exercise as updation of employee record is a continuous process. The previous data hence gets updated every month,” the labour ministry said in a statement.

Highest number of jobs were registered in the 22-25 years age group with 0.32 million net new additions in April followed by 0.27 million additions in the 29-35 years age group. “The members of 18-25 age-groups, usually first timers in the job market, have contributed around 43.35% of total net subscriber additions in April, 2021,” it said.

Data shows females constituted 22% of total net subscribers added during the month at 0.28 million additions in April compared to 0.24 million in March. In addition to this, the number of female subscribers who have come under the ambit of EPFO for the first time has also increased to 0.19 million in April, 2021 compared to 0.18 million in March, 2021.

As per the data, states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamilnadu and Karnataka remained in the forefront in formal job creation and added approximately 0.75 million subscribers during the month, which is around 59.41% of total net payroll addition across all age groups.

The north-eastern (NE) states have shown above average growth in terms of net subscribers addition as compared with the previous month, it said . The ‘expert services’ category (consisting of manpower agencies, private security agencies and small contractors) constituted 45% of total subscribers addition during the month.

Since April, 2018 EPFO has been releasing payroll data covering the period September 2017 onwards. Establishments with 20 or more employees are covered under EPFO and provide social security net to employees with salary up to Rs 15000 per month.

The benefits under EPFO include provident fund, pension and deposit linked insurance cover to its over six crore beneficiaries.

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