Further COVID-19 relief measures were announced this week by the government to provide financial support to employers and employees affected by the continued rise in COVID-19 infections, in addition to those that had already been put in place, including those mentioned in our previous newsletter update (link). The additional measures include:
- Reduction of the contribution rate to the Social Security Fund (“SSF“) – On 18 May 2021, the Cabinet approved in principle the draft Ministerial Regulation regarding the Contribution Rate to the SSF (“Ministerial Regulation“). According to the Ministerial Regulations, the monthly contribution rates of the employers and the employees to the SSF will be reduced from 5% to 2.5% of wage applicable for the period between 1 June 2021 and 31 August 2021 (i.e., three months).
- Reduction of the contribution rate to the Skill Development Promotion Fund (“Fund“) – On 7 May 2021, the Ministry of Labour issued the Notification regarding the Contribution Rate and Method for Collecting the Contributions to the Fund to Alleviate the Hardship of Business Operators Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak (“Notification“).
Generally, if an employer who has at least 100 employees does not comply with certain skill training requirements under the law, they will have to contribute money to the Fund. The formula to calculate the contribution amount is as follows:
- Minimum wage base x number of employees that the employer fails to fully comply with the legal requirements x number of months that the employer has at least 100 employees x 1% (“Contribution Rate“).
According to the Notification, effective from 1 January 2021 onwards, the Contribution Rate is reduced from 1% to 0.1% for 2021.
- Extension of the contribution filing deadline to the Fund – Generally, the employer who has at least 100 employees and has a duty to pay a contribution to the Fund must submit the contribution filing to the Fund within March every year. Under the Notification, the contribution filing deadline to the Fund for the year 2020 is extended from within March 2021 to within July 2021.
Apart from the above measures, it is expected that additional COVID-19 relief measures may be announced in the near future to alleviate the impact of the prolonged COVID-19 situation. We will keep you posted on further developments on this matter.