KUALA LUMPUR (April 23): Employers with more than 200 people on their payroll can still contact the Employees Provident Fund for alternative solutions to help ease their cash flow constraints that arose following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Larger companies that are affected by Covid-19 and with good track record with the EPF can still engage with our EAS officers to discuss customised arrangements on a case-by-case basis with regard to fulfilling their portion of EPF contributions,” EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias told theedgemarkets.com.
The EPF had, on April 15, launched its Employer Advisory Services (EAS) to help companies remain solvent during the tough times, owing to travel restrictions necessary to control Covid-19.
Companies with good standing with the EPF include those that have always paid EPF contributions on time, Alizakri explained. Virtual appointments can be arranged with the EPF’s EAS officers even during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
Alizakri said this when asked about the stringent eligibility criteria for the Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme (e-CAP) launched by the EPF today that allows only eligible SMEs to apply for an up to a three-month deferment of the employer’s share of EPF contributions for April, May and June 2020.
To be eligible, companies can only have a maximum 200 employees on their payroll. They must also ensure that all monthly contribution payments (both employer and employee portions) up to Feb 15, 2020 (January 2020 wage) and the employee’s share of the payment for the contributions applied for (April, May or June) has been paid.
“SMEs are the cornerstone of the Malaysian economy, contributing around RM522 billion to GDP, and provide the largest amount of employment for the domestic labour market. SMEs registered with the EPF represent over 99% of all our registered employers, hiring about 7.6 million workers.
"As such, Malaysia cannot afford for SMEs to collapse as this will have far-reaching effects; from larger corporations that will face severe supply chain disruptions to individuals whose jobs will be at stake,” Alizakri said in a statement announcing the e-CAP launch earlier.
“Hopefully, the e-CAP will assist in some way towards helping affected SMEs to flow back the cash to ensure business continuity and provide jobs for as long as possible. To supplement the e-CAP, we are also offering all Malaysian employers an advisory service on all things EPF via our Employer Advisory Services, where dedicated officers will discuss and work out customised, needs-based plans to help them fulfil their obligations in light of the current situation,” he added.
The e-CAP measure complements other Covid-19-related initiatives that have been announced by the EPF to support members, preserve livelihoods and assist businesses, including the reduction of the employee’s share of contributions from 11% to 7%, the i-Lestari Withdrawal facility for members to withdraw savings from Account 2, and the extension of the April 2020 employer’s contribution deadline to the end of the month, the statement further read.