The Low-Down On EPF & ETF - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka

The Low-Down On EPF & ETF

Clear the fog!

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As young adults entering the workforce, terms like Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) may often fly over our heads. We stumble forward in our professional lives with merely a vague understanding of what they are and all it entails. What’s at the forefront of our minds is our total take-home pay, after all, deductions are made, forgetting that in a few years we will accumulate a tidy little fund. 


You can consider EPF as your social security scheme, a large one at that. According to the EPF Act, you, as an employee, have to contribute 8% of your salary each month to this fund, while your employer adds a further 12%.

ETF, on the other hand, functions under the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations and is a fund that the employer contributes towards the employee (3% of the employee’s pay is generally how it works).


All women can claim EPF under these circumstances:

  • Retiring at the age of 50
  • Migrating to another country on a permanent visa
  • Married within 3 months of leaving employment
  • Left the workforce within 5 years of marriage

If in the event, you simply shift jobs during the 5 year period stipulated on the grounds of marriage, you can claim your funds from your ex-employer, but not from where you are currently employed. Once you do so, you won’t be able to make another withdrawal unless you migrate or retire.  


Claiming ETF can only be done every 5 years up until your last employer. “Once you leave your current employment, you can claim the 3% until that point. After which, you must wait until 5 more years have passed before attempting to make a withdrawal,” said Shammas Ameer, Manager – People & Culture at Capital Media Pvt Ltd.

Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka EPF & ETF
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Cheque/ Bank Transfer. It takes a maximum of 14 days, and you can choose between receiving a cheque or having it transferred to your bank account.

Housing Loans. You can also utilize your EPF funds to obtain housing loans. 


Both the EPF and ETF websites have comprehensive lists to help with the documentation needed when claiming your funds. “All the forms are available online, so it’s very straightforward: you download it and fill it out. There is also a small section for your last employer to fill,” revealed Shammas. Upon completion, it is just a matter of submitting the forms with the relevant documents and waiting patiently until you receive your money.

Useful documents to collect when resigning from a company:

  • B Card (this links to both your EPF and ETF)
  • Salary Slips
  • EPF and ETF Statements


Although EPF and ETF are claimed differently (as they’re managed by 2 different entities), the B Card is vital for both.

If you lose or misplace your B Card, there is a separate form that must be filled in that you can obtain online. If you haven’t received your B Card from previous employers, then you have a bit of a process in store! If you didn’t receive your B Card, go back to the company and request to register yourself as an employee, get your B Card and you will be good to go!


Once HR registers you as an employee of the company you currently work at, you can create an EPF account online and monitor your funds from anywhere! Yes, there is a form that has to be filled and submitted, and there is a component of this form (known as the ABH Form) that your employer needs to fill in, too. But, once you get the initial documentation out of the way, keeping a tab on your earnings will be much easier.

Still foggy about the whole thing? Head to your HR department for a quick chat to clear any doubts! They’ll be happy to help!

This article was originally published as ‘Let’s Talk Money: Breaking Down EPF & ETF’ in the July 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more career advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.

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