Under the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, UAN or the Universal Account Number has been made compulsory for all members under the Employees’ Provident Funds. This simply means that managing your EPF account, transfer and withdrawal of PF will be much easier than before.
It is very important to note that a single employee should have a unique UAN and not multiple UANs. When an employee joins a new organisation, he or she should link the already existing UAN with the new PF or ID number. After linking, the UAN will display both the PF numbers including the previous employer’s PF number as well. Therefore, instead of having multiple UANs, all PF numbers are under a single UAN allotted to an individual by all its employers. In most cases, the UAN is provided by the employer and the employee just needs to get it activated by submitted relevant KYC documents to the employer. Therefore, UAN is a one-time number which remains permanent throughout your career.
What happens in case of multiple UANs
Many times the employees end up with multiple UANs and majority of times, the main reason is when the record is not updated along with the status of your employment. In such cases, it is important that your previous employer informs the EPFO when you leave the job through ECR (Electronic Challan cum Return). The ECR is filed regularly by the employer with the EPFO.
In case an employee is allotted more than one UAN, the current employer must be first informed about it. Alternatively, you can also write to the EPFO mentioning both your previous and current UAN. The EPFO conducts the required verification and blocks the previously allotted UAN and retains the current UAN active. As soon as the previous UAN is blocked, the PF number or the ID number is also de-linked. Following this, the employee has to submit a transfer request so that the PF funds are transferred to the currently active UAN.
EPFO’s initiative to merge multiple UANs
The EPFO has also taken voluntary steps to merge multiple UANs of a single EPF member. It involves first identifying the PF accounts between which funds have been transferred from different UANs. All UANs identified through this process are deactivated and cannot be used. The old PF number is then linked to the active UAN. Merging of UAN may not necessarily be requested by the employee.
How to avoid multiple UANs
In order to avoid multiple UANs, you are required to fill in the new form 11, which is a declaration form that states the existing UAN. If you do not have one, you are required to provide your previous PF number along with the exit date from your last job.
Importance of UAN
The new PF number on joining of a new organisation gets linked to the UAN. Therefore, you must ensure that you have an active UAN. If you an UAN, your KYC documents can be easily uploaded through the UAN member portal. After this, the employer digitally approves them online. For KYC purposes, Aadhaar or PAN can be used, however your bank account number and the IFSC code is mandatory. Once the UAN gets activate, you can view all your PF related details including your previous employment PF details. This can be used to transfer the PF as well as track the status as and when desired.
In cases when there are pending arrears from your previous employer and the UAN is blocked, the EPFO enables you to transfer it to the new UAN. Therefore, this unique UAN number plays a highly useful role in obtaining or transferring PF.