KUALA LUMPUR (April 23): The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has announced the launch of the Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme (e-CAP) to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic.
In a statement today, the EPF said e-CAP allows eligible SMEs the flexibility to choose to apply for a deferment and restructuring of the employer's share of EPF contributions for April, May and/or June 2020.
"The deferred contributions for the respective month of choice can then be settled over a maximum period of three months.
"As an example, for SMEs who chooses to apply to defer their April contributions, their restructured payments will start from July 2020 up to a maximum of three months ending September 2020," it said.
Similarly, for those applying for May, the restructured payments for that month will start from August to October 2020, while those applying for June will have their restructured payments start from September 2020 to November 2020. The e-CAP can be applied via i-Akaun (Employer) from today onwards.
"SMEs who are interested in having their contributions deferred and restructured for two or three months, should also take note that they must ensure their application for the previous month is approved before they can submit a new application," it added.
Chief executive officer of EPF Alizakri Alias said the stringent but necessary measures that the country has adopted to contain the virus, had a severe effect on the country's economy.
"We can see that SMEs are particularly vulnerable due to cash flow constraints and some are in real danger of not surviving over the next few months.
"SMEs are the cornerstone of the Malaysian economy, contributing around RM522 billion to GDP and provide the largest amount of employment for the domestic labor 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," he said.
As such, Alizakri hopes the e-CAP will assist in some ways towards helping affected SMEs flow back the cash they need, 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 fulfill their obligations in light of the current situation," he added.
To be eligible for e-CAP, SMEs employers must:
- have 200 employees or less on payroll
- ensure that all monthly contribution payments (both employee and employer portions) up to the February 2020 contribution date (January 2020 wage) are in order
- ensure that the employee's share of the payment for the contribution months being applied for (April, May or June) has been paid.
The EPF also reminded employers who choose to apply for e-CAP that dividends on late payments will still apply, though the fund will consider a waiver or reduction in late payment charges on a case-by-case basis.