Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation extends the deadline to apply for higher pension
To allow eligible employees to exercise the option for higher pension under the amended Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS), the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the deadline for submitting applications for such coverage till 26 June 2023, through a press release dated 2 May 2023. This follows an earlier press release of 13 March 2023 which had initially extended the deadline till 3 May 2023.
This extension was necessary as the EPFO had released a circular on 20 February 2023 (Circular) to comply with the Supreme Court’s judgement in Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation v Sunil Kumar B. & Ors. The judgement, while upholding the 2014 amendment to EPS introducing the option of higher pension, had directed that all employees who were entitled to this option but did not exercise it due to the interpretation of cut-off date by the authorities, ought to be given a further chance to exercise their option. (To read our detailed update on this judgement, click here.)
Delhi High Court observes that sexual harassment complaints and proceedings cannot be quashed only due to the internal committee’s failure to complete inquiry within 90 days
In a recent judgement in the case of CA Nitesh Parashar v Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Delhi High Court observed that a complaint of sexual harassment and the inquiry proceeding emanating therefrom cannot be quashed merely for the reason that the Internal Committee (IC) failed to complete the inquiry within 90 days. This judgement urges employers and ICs to treat allegations of sexual harassment with seriousness and responsibility and ensure that such allegations are inquired into and logically concluded in the interest of the complainant as well as the accused.
Haryana government revises conditions for employing women in night shifts
The Haryana government had prescribed detailed conditions to be followed by employers to ensure the safety of women employees working in night shifts through a circular issued in 2022 (2022 Circular). However, employers were finding it difficult to comply with certain conditions prescribed in the 2022 Circular. Accordingly, the government has issued a revised circular (in suppression of all previous circulars) on 21 February 2023 (2023 Circular).
The changes introduced include:
- revising the time for commencement of night shift from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm to align with the definition of ‘night’ under the state Shops and Establishments Act;
- removing the requirement to share copies of consent forms from each woman with the Labour Commissioner. It is now sufficient to give a declaration that the employer has obtained such consent;
- replacing the obligation to engage sufficient women security guards with the mandate to engage security guards irrespective of gender.
Karnataka government increases the salary limit for exemption from professional tax
In a relief to taxpayers, the Karnataka government increased the threshold of the salary limit for deduction of professional tax from INR 15,000 to INR 25,000. As a result, a larger number of employees will fall outside the professional tax bracket. This change has been introduced through the Karnataka Tax on Professions, Trades, Callings and Employments (Amendment) Act, 2023.
The coming quarter will be one to watch out for as the Rajasthan government has announced its plans to introduce a Gig Workers Welfare Act, which may be the first of its kind by a state in India.