Several former employees of edtech unicorn Byju’s have accused the company of not depositing the provident fund (PF) component of their salaries in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account.
While four former employees have shared screenshots of their EPF account passbook and salary slips, data from the EPFO portal also indicate that the company hasn’t been compliant with the monthly deposits.
The EPFO data show that Think and Learn Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Byju’s, has not paid the PF money for most of its employees in FY24. While for April, the PF contribution for 3,164 employees was paid after a delay of 36 days, only 31 employees’ accounts received the payment for May.
The company made the PF contributions for December 2022, January 2023, February and March on June 19. However, not all the employees’ accounts were credited with this payment, show the data.
The data also show that Byju’s hasn’t been disciplined in paying the PF money for a while now. For instance, there are cases where employees were paid the PF money due for 2020, only in June 2023.
EPFO rules mandate that a company should deposit the PF money for a month by the 15th of the next. Any delay could attract penal charges of 5-100 per cent of the amount. HR and compliance experts said this delay may indicate the financial trouble in India’s most valued start-up.
PF indicated in payslip
Some of the former employees at the start-up, who businessline got in touch with, shared their payslips, which showed a deduction of PF contribution from both the employee and employer.
“I checked my PF account only recently after the rumour of a potential layoff started surfacing in the office,” said Samyuktha*, who was laid off from Byju’s this month. “That was when I realised that the PF money was last deposited in my EPFO account in December 2022, for the month of November. I immediately alerted the HR about it, but they told me that it was a technical glitch,” she said.
Similar is the case of Ankit Pandey, who worked with Byju’s as a Sales Associate in Gwalior from the end of January to the first week of June this year.
“I received the PF payment in the EPFO account only for March, even though it was deducted from my salary every month. When I enquired, I was told that it is a technical glitch and that it will be resolved soon,” he said.
While both their issues are quite recent, Ranjith*, who worked with Byju’s in Bengaluru between September 2020 and February 2022, said throughout his tenure, he was paid the PF amount only once. “I was shocked when I checked my EPFO account during the pandemic when I was in dire need of money. Since then I have written to the HR at least 50 times about this, but every time, I was told that the issue will be resolved in the next few days. They haven’t credited the money even now,” he said, after sharing the screenshots of emails.
He added that a complaint was also filed with the EPFO, however, he hasn’t heard back from them either.
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Several other former BYJU’s employees, too, shared similar instances on social media platforms. Responding to businessline’s query, a BYJU’s spokesperson said that there are no pending PF payments towards the employees. “This is to confirm that there are no pending PF payments towards employees. There are no dues,” the statement shared with us via a WhatsApp message reads.
The company has been in a fix after it fired another 1,000 employees almost a week ago. Additionally, its auditor Deloitte, too, resigned last week citing they were unable to finalise the audit reports for the financial years ended March 2021 and begin the audit for FY22.
*Names changed on request