FAQ’s on Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) in EPFO

 

Animay Singh
Simpliance COE

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Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

Introduction

The Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) was announced by the Government of India on the 12th of November 2020.  The scheme falls under the broader umbrella of Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 and aims to incentivize creation of new job opportunities. To this end, Ministry of Labour and Employment has approved a scheme with guidelines. While the scheme guidelines can be accessed on Simpliance, there remain some common questions relating to it. This article shall address frequently asked questions to provide readers with succinct answers relating to the scheme.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the scheme come into force?

Ans. The scheme stands commenced from 1st October 2020 and shall remain open for registration of eligible employers and new employees up to 30th June 2021.

Is registration under the scheme mandatory?

Ans. No, the scheme merely provides an incentive that establishments registered under the EPFO or those newly registered can avail of. There is no compulsion to register or penalty for non-registration under the scheme.

What incentive does the scheme offer?

Ans. The ABRY scheme provides upfront credit of both the employees’ and the employer’s share of contribution payable or only the employees’ share, depending on the employment strength of an establishment. This credit shall be provided by the Central Government in the Universal Account Number (UAN) of eligible employees employed in EPFO registered establishments.

What is a reference base as mentioned under the Scheme guidelines?

Ans. The reference base of employees mentioned under the scheme is nothing but the number of employees for whom the employer has remitted contributions for the wage month of September 2020. The reason for taking September into consideration is the fact that it is the wage month that immediately precedes the commencement of the scheme. In case of new establishments getting registered with the EPFO during the validity of the scheme, the reference base shall be treated as zero.

What is the amount of benefit/subsidy that can be availed of under the Scheme?

Ans. The Central Government shall provide subsidy for 24 wage months in respect of eligible new employees at the following scale:-

(i) For establishments employing less than or equal to 1000 employees (that is contributing EPF members with UAN) in wage month September 2020 both the employer’s and employees’ share of contribution as per statutory rate subject to a maximum of 24% of wages

(ii) For establishments employing more than 1000 employees (that is contributing EPF members with UAN) in wage month September 2020 only the employees’ share of contribution as per statutory rate subject to a maximum of 12% of wages

Who is considered a new employee under the ABRY Scheme?

Ans. A new employee is any employee drawing less than Rs. 15,000 per month, who falls under one of the following categories:-

(i.) Who was not working in any establishment and did not have a UAN prior to 1st October 2020 and obtains employment in an establishment on or after 1st October 2020 up to 30th June 2021 and has been allotted AADHAR validated UAN

(ii.) Any EPF member, already allotted with UAN, who lost gainful employment during the period from 1st March 2020 to 30th September 2020 from any establishment with the date of such exit recorded in UAN. Such a member who joins any establishment on or after 1st October 2020 up to 30th June 2021

What are the eligibility criteria under the scheme?

Ans. Establishments that are registered with the EPFO before the commencement of this scheme shall have to employ, over and above the reference base:-

  • Minimum two employees if their reference base is less than or equal to 50
  • Minimum five employees if their reference base is more than 50

In addition to maintaining the minimum number of additional new employees and continuing their employment, already registered establishments must also continue to retain the number of employees taken as reference base for availing incentive under this scheme. If any establishment being a single legal entity, is submitting compliance under multiple Code numbers to the EPFO, then for the purpose of computing the number of employees for eligibility criteria under the scheme, all employees in the establishment as a whole shall be included.

Can a contractor claim benefit under the ABRY Scheme?

Ans. Establishments working as contractors who supply manpower to one or more principal employers cannot claim benefit of principal employers’ share of subsidy availed under the scheme, if the same is claimed or received by the principal employer. Any amount of employer’s share so claimed shall be liable to be refunded to the Central Government.

What is the procedure for availing benefits under the ABRY Scheme?

Ans. The procedure for availing benefits can be summarized into a stepwise process as follows:-

Step-1: The employer in an eligible establishment shall register the  establishment under this Scheme disclosing the reference base of  employees  through a link on the Employer’s login page on the EPFO Unified Portal. Prior to registration the employer must ensure that updated ownership returns have  been filed with the EPFO.

Step-2:  Before taking an employee into employment under this Scheme, the employer must obtain a declaration that affirms their establishment’s previous membership under the EPF Scheme and the EPS Scheme. The registration of new employees must take place during the period from 1-10-2020 to 30-06-2021.

Step-3: The incentive under this Scheme must be claimed through the Electronic-Challan cum Return (ECR). The same must be filed not later than 60 days of the close of a particular wage month.

Step-4: Once the ECR is uploaded in the specified timeframe, the challan shall show the quantum of employees’ and employers’ contribution in respect of new employees that shall be provided by the Central Government and any amount payable by the employer. The employer must then remit the payment due and complete the process of ECR filing.

Step-5: Along with ECR to claim subsidy for any wage month, the employer shall be required to upload a certificate/declaration in the format provided under the ABRY scheme Guidelines.

Disclaimer: This blog is meant for informational purposes and discussion only. It contains only general information about legal matters. The information provided is not legal advice and should not be acted upon without seeking proper legal advice from a practicing attorney.
Simpliance makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information on this article.
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22 thoughts on “FAQ’s on Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) in EPFO”

  1. Thanks for clearifications.One more point, please clarify:
    Minimum 2 new employees upto base number 50 and minimum 5 new employees for base number more than 50 is given in the scheme. But what about maximum number of beneficiary emploees? Is there any maximum also?

    1. Hi,
      There is no maximum stipulated under the scheme, however the 1000 employee threshold exists for the amount of benefit that an establishment may receive from the Central Government. The same has been specified in the article

      Regards
      Animay

  2. What if principal employer doesn’t avail benefit or avails benefits for his eligible employees , then can the contractor avail the benefit for contract workers?

    1. Hi,
      Yes your understanding is correct, the scheme is framed to ensure there is no claim of benefit from both principal employer and contractor

      Regards
      Animay

  3. Whether first we need to deposit PF amount for the eligible employees and then only able to claim reimbursement and provide benefit to employees. Please assist.

  4. If have two companies in the same state with different PF code , the both are eligible to avail benefit ??? because my one unit is got benefit but second did not

    1. Hi,
      Point-6 of the scheme guidelines reads as follows:-
      If any establishment being a single legal entity is making compliance under various code numbers obtained from EPFO, then for the purpose of counting the number of 50/1000 employees, wherever applicable for eligibility criteria under this scheme, all employees in the establishment as a whole shall be included.

      Therefore, it would be prudent to check with the EPFO if your establishment meets the above requirement and if so, why your second unit has not received its benefit.

      Regards
      Animay

  5. Hi My query is following:
    Suppose establishment strength was 30 in september which is considered as base reference. 2 new employees who did not had prior UAN number has been added in december however 01 employee have left the organization. So in short december month end employee strength was 29 + 2 new joinee. hence will the establishment elligible for benefit in december?

    1. Hi,
      The answer to your query can be found under Point-6 of the scheme guidelines which reads as follows:-

      ‘In addition to maintaining the minimum number of additional new employees, the already registered establishments must continue to retain the number of employees taken as reference base of employees for availing assistance under this Scheme for any wage month.’

      In the scenario you have provided there will be 31 employees and if the employee who has left is not one of the two new employees as defined under the Scheme then your scenario falls within the ambit of the guidelines and you will be eligible

      Regards
      Animay

  6. Am men power supplier can we registered under ABRY. BECAUSE when am registered InABRY it show that you are not eligible.am also unable to furnished Return

  7. Can you help me with this “Establishment is not eligible for ABRY benefit as employee count [58] is less than required employee count of 76 from
    base month.”

    1. Hi,
      Reference base under the scheme guidelines is explained as the number of employees for whom the employer has remitted contributions through ECR for the wage month of September, 2020. This is the reference base number taken for determining the eligibility of an establishment. To be eligible for the benefit employers must employ, over and above the reference base, minimum two new employees (if the reference base is less than or equal to 50) and minimum five new employees (if the reference base of employees is more than 50). Furthermore, the number of employees taken as reference base of employees must be retained to avail assistance.

      The above are the reasons for potential ineligibility under the Scheme

      Regards
      Animay

  8. Can you help me with this also “Establishment is not eligible for ABRY benefit as eligible employee count [0] is less than required employee count of five
    from base month.”

    1. Hi,
      To be eligible for the benefit employers must employ, over and above the reference base, minimum two new employees (if the reference base is less than or equal to 50) and minimum five new employees (if the reference base of employees is more than 50). Furthermore, the number of employees taken as reference base of employees must be retained to avail assistance. It seems as though you have not employed any “new employees” as defined under the Scheme which could be a potential reason for ineligibility for benefits

      Regards
      Animay

  9. Hello,

    I want to know, employee not exited from previous UAN, he is not eligible member under ABRY scheme. But if he has made the process of exiting from previous UAN, then whether the current employer will get the benefit of ABRY Scheme.

    1. Hi,
      Point-4 of the scheme guidelines defines “new employee” uses the phrase “…an EPF member that has already been allotted with UAN, who has made exit from employment during the period from 01.03.2020 to 30.09.2020”. Thus the process of exit from previous UAN is essential to avail benefit under the ABRY Scheme

      Regards
      Animay

  10. Establishment is not eligible for ABRY benefit as employee count [287] is less than required employee count of 312
    from base month.
    What is the meaning of above statement.

    1. Hi,
      Reference base under the scheme guidelines is explained as the number of employees for whom the employer has remitted contributions through ECR for the wage month of September, 2020. This is the reference base number taken for determining the eligibility of an establishment. To be eligible for the benefit employers must employ, over and above the reference base, minimum two new employees (if the reference base is less than or equal to 50) and minimum five new employees (if the reference base of employees is more than 50). Furthermore, the number of employees taken as reference base of employees must be retained to avail assistance.

      The above are the reasons for potential ineligibility under the Scheme

      Regards
      Animay

  11. I have paid epf for last 3 months and that too without benefits of abry.
    Is there any procedures for the reimbursement or adjustments.
    Please reply.

    1. Hi,
      To avail benefit you would have had to hire 2 or 5 new employees based on your establishment’s strength, the details relating to availing benefit is provided in the article

      Regards
      Animay

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