The Employees Provident Fund (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday, with amendments by a majority of 59 votes.
The revised Employees Provident Fund Amendment Bill was passed with 71 parliamentarians voted in favor while 12 voted against it.
Parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance were absent during the voting.
According to the proposed amendments, the NIC number of an employee will be used as the EPF number and this number will not change even if the employee moves to another institution. The efficiency of the fund when paying back the EPF money to employees would be enhanced as a result of this new system. The thumb fingerprint would also be included with the NIC number to ensure the safety of the account.
The amendments to the Act would also enable the employees to withdraw 30 percent of the amount in their fund if they have contributed to the fund at least for 10 years and have more than Rs. 300,000 in their individual accounts.
This money will be provided for housing purposes or medical requirements such as heart surgery, treatment for cancer including surgery, kidney transplant or surgery, cesarean operation or hospitalization for not less than 14 days on account of an accident. Every member is entitled to two withdrawals from his individual account.
The Leader of House Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva presenting the bill in the parliament said the government has decided to withdraw Employees' Pension Benefit Fund Bill, the Pension Benefit Fund Bill for Foreign Employed Personnel and Pensions Consequential Provisions Bill from the revised bill.
The proposed amendment to set up a pension scheme for the private sector has been removed.
Opening the debate in the parliament, Minister of Labor and Labor Relations Gamini Lokuge said the revisions are aimed at enhancing the activities of the Employees Provident Fund and the contributors will get more benefits from the revisions.