Byju’s, the renowned ed-tech platform, has been in the limelight recently, but not for its educational prowess. The company, which has been accused of mass layoffs and delaying provident fund (PF) payments to its employees since October 2022, is now under the scrutiny of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Amidst the turmoil, an EPFO board member has stepped forward to assure Byju’s employees that their hard-earned money will not be lost.
Raghunathan KE, an EPFO Board member representing employers, has addressed the concerns of Byju’s employees, stating that the EPFO will ensure the clearance of all pending PF dues. In a conversation with Moneycontrol, Raghunathan reassured the employees, stating, “Byju’s employees need not worry about their PF dues. Their social security custodian, the EPFO, will ensure they get their hard-earned money back.”
The EPFO has taken up the responsibility to investigate the matter thoroughly. The organization aims to ensure the survival of the employer while also making sure that employees do not lose their employment and receive their savings. The company will also be given a reasonable amount of time to present their side of the story.
This assurance comes after a series of allegations against Byju’s for delaying PF payments. Data from the EPFO suggested that the majority of employees had not received their PF payments for April and May, despite the company deducting the PF portion from their salaries every month. Several former employees, including Shivkumari Mishra and Aravind Gummadi, shared their experiences on LinkedIn, revealing that their PF contributions were not credited to the EPFO for several months, despite the amount being deducted from their salaries.
Despite these allegations, Byju’s has consistently maintained that it has cleared all pending PF dues. The company, founded by former teacher Byju Raveendran over a decade ago, has raised over $5 billion, with the majority secured in the past five years. However, recent events have taken a toll on the company. It has lost its auditor, Deloitte, and non-promoter board members. Byju’s has also been engaged in a legal dispute with its term loan B lenders for over six months, resulting in mutual lawsuits filed in US courts. Additionally, in April, the Enforcement Directorate, India’s financial probe agency, conducted searches at Byju’s offices in Bengaluru under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
As the situation unfolds, Byju’s employees and the public alike are waiting to see how the company will navigate these challenges. But for now, the assurance from the EPFO board member has brought a ray of hope to the concerned employees.