Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that the government will make 24 per cent contribution to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) (12 per cent each for employer and employee) for the next three months.

The government will make this contribution only in case of establishments with up to 100 employees, 90 per cent of whom draw less than Rs 15,000 per month, Sitharaman told the media here.

“This is for all those establishments that have up to 100 employees and 90 per cent of whom earn under Rs 15,000 per month,” the FM said while announcing a slew of relief measures for the poor Indians.

“That (24 per cent) will be paid for the next three months by the government of India, so that nobody suffers, because the EPF contribution has lost continuity and as a result, they could be lot more difficulties. So 12 plus 12, a 24 per cent contribution, which has to go into the EPF account of an employee will be borne by the government of India for the next three months,” she said.

Announcing the second measure for the organized sector, she said that employees would be allowed to take non-refundable advance for 75 per cent from credit in provident fund account or the wages for three months, whichever is lower.

The minister said that around 4.8 crore workers registered with the EPF will be able to withdraw the money.

Sitharaman’s latest announcement comes two days after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21-day nationwide complete lockdown to try to protect India’s 1.3 billion people from the Coronavirus pandemic. The decisions come as a major relief for the working class and the private companies which would go through financial stress amid lockdown.

Of late, the government has announced a slew of measures to provide support to the common man and enterprises, including an extension in the deadline for filing I-T and GST return for the financial year 2018-19.

Previously, Sitharaman also announced a Rs 50 lakh per person health insurance cover all the medical professionals who have been involved in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and treating the affected patients.

She also announced an economic relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor and migrant workers under the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme.