Employees Provident Fund


Employees Provident Fund

The Employees Provident Fund (Abbreviation: EPF) also known in Malay as "Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja" (Abbreviation: "KWSP") is a government organisation in charge of social security or retirement planning for legally employed workers in Malaysia. Membership to the EPF is mandatory for working Malaysian citizens, or non-Malaysian citizens who are either permanent residents or have been EPF members before 1 August, 1998.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_retire&ac=202|title=Life Events » Retiring from Workforce|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007]

Overview

The Malaysian EPF was formally founded after the enactment of the Employees Provident Fund Act 1991 (Act 452), which grants employees retirement benefits via a body that is intended to manage their savings.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2corporateinfo&pg=en_p2corporateinfo_geninfo&ac=1856|title=About EPF » Corporate Information|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007] As of 31 December, 2006, a total of 11.4 million members have registered to the EPF, of which 5.4 million are active and contributing members, and 416,000 are active employers.

The EPF is intended to help employees from both private and non-pensionable public sectors save a fraction of their salary in a lifetime banking scheme, to be used in an event that the employee is temporarily or no longer fit to work. The EPF primarily applies to retirement, but sickness, disabilities or unemployment are also covered. The EPF also provides a framework for employers to meet legal and moral obligations to their employees.

As of November 30, 2006 , the size of the EPF stood "in excess" of 260 billion ringgit.cite web|url=http://www.treasury.gov.my/index.php?ch=36&pg=126&ac=1771&lang=eng|title=Eight Malaysia - Australia Joint Business Conference speech|work=Official Malaysian Treasury/Ministry of Finance website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007]

avings and investments

As of 2007, the EPF functions by procuring at least 11% of each member's monthly salary and storing it in a savings account, while the member's employer is obligated to additionally fund at least 12% of employee's salary to the savings at the same time.

While in savings, a member's EPF may be used as investments for companies deemed profitable and permissible by the organisation, from which dividends are banked to respective members' accounts. Alternately, members may use their EPF savings in their own investments, although such activities are not covered by the EPF and the members are to bear any losses made.

Compared to those declared by several other agenda, the EPF declares an annual dividend on funds collected which has been progressively declining since 1987:Fact|date=March 2007

Legally, the EPF is only obligated to provide 2.5% dividends (as per Section 25 of the Employees Provident Fund Act 1991).

The EPF claims that the lowered dividend is the result of its decision to invest in low-risk fixed revenue instruments, which produce lower returns but maintains the principal value of its members' contributions. This is due to the EPF primarily aimed at providing a stable financial security of its members.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2faqinvestments&pg=en_p2memdividend&ac=622&expand=1|title=EPF FAQs » Why is the EPF dividend lower compared with those declared by several other agenda?|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=15 March|accessyear=2007]

In addition, the EPF further elaborates dividend rates and their performances are calculated and influenced based on the full distribution of net EPF revenue, depending on the return on investments that in turn is based on asset allocation.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2faqinvestments&pg=en_p2memdividend&ac=624&expand=1|title=EPF FAQs » Why is the EPF dividend rate declining since 1996?|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=15 March|accessyear=2007]

The EPF also attributes the declining interest market rate since 1996 to the interest market rate. Because 75% of investment funds are concentrated towards bodies closely linked to trends in the interest market rate, including Malaysian Government Securities, loans or bonds, and money market instruments, low interest rates for the past few years had an adverse effect on returns for EPF investments.

In April 2007, criticism was raised at a proposed amendment of EPF guidelines (the EPF Bill (Amendment) 2007) that cuts monthly contributions of members above 55 years by 50% (6.2% from 11% for employees, and 5.7% from 12% for employers).cite web |url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/21/nation/17509821&sec=nation |title=Groups express shock over EPF move on contributions |date=2007-04-21| work=The Star Online |accessdate=26 April |accessyear=2007] The change was described as a disadvantage to tens and thousands of members compared to those under the pension scheme as the former is not given free medical treatment after retirement, and was described as a form of discrimination towards senior members. Under the proposal, an employer of foreign workers may also optionally contribute RM5 monthly per head, raising concerns of employers' preferences towards foreign employees. The government responded by claiming that the proposal may be studied,cite web |url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/22/nation/17516807&sec=nation |title=Proposal for EPF may be studied |date=2007-04-22| work=The Star Online |accessdate=26 April |accessyear=2007] and later states that members can contribute at any amount above the slashed contributed amount.cite web |url=http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/26/nation/17558340&sec=nation |title=More flexible EPF withdrawals |date=2007-04-26| work=The Star Online |accessdate=26 April |accessyear=2007] The EPF guideline for employers of foreign workers remains unchanged, citing that the policy has been implemented before in 1998.

Withdrawal

As a retirement plan, money accumulated in an EPF savings can only be withdrawn when members reach 50 years old, during which they may withdraw only 30% of their EPF; members who are 55 years old or older may withdraw all of their EPF. When a member dies beforehand, the EPF fund is withdrawn in favour of a nominated individual.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_death|title=Life Events » In Event of Death|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007] Withdrawals are also possible when a member will emigrate,cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_leave|title=Life Events » Leaving the Country|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007] becomes disabled,cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_disability|title=Life Events » Disability & Incapacitation|work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007] or requires essential medical treatment.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_medical|title=Life Events » Treating Illnesses |work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007] Members above 55 years old can choose not to withdraw EPF savings immediately and withdraw only later, and, under existing guidelines, employers may continue to contribute 12% of the members' salaries at their own discretion.

Accounts

Effective 1 January, 2007, a member's EPF savings consists of two accounts that vary by their share of savings and withdrawal flexibilities. The first account, dubbed "Account I", stores 70% of the members' monthly contribution, while the second account, dubbed "Account II", stores 30%. Account I restricts withdrawals to the moment the member reaches an age of 55 years old, is incapacitated, leaves the country or passes away. Withdrawal of savings from Account II however, is permitted for down payments or loan settlements for a member's first house, finances for education and medical expenses, investments, and the time when the member reaches 50 years of age.cite web|url=http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?ch=p2life&pg=en_p2life_medical|title=Members » General Information |work=Official EPF website|accessdate=14 February|accessyear=2007]

References

ee also

* The Central Provident Fund, Singapore's Provident Fund
* Provident Fund, for other "Provident Funds" in other countries.
* Economy of Malaysia

External links

* [http://www.kwsp.gov.my/index.php?uc=1&lang=en Official Employees Provident Fund website] . en icon
* [http://www.gov.my/MyGov/BI/Directory/Government/GovEmployeeBenefits/GovContribution/GovEPF Employees Provident Fund] at the official Malaysian government website.
* [http://www.einsuran.com/EpfCalculator.aspx Malaysia EPF Calculator - Malaysia Retirement Planning]
* [http://www.irwan.biz/epfkwsp-withdrawal-calculator/ EPF Withdrawal Calculator(current rule)]


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