In his announcement about Pakej Rangsangan Ekonomi Prihatin Rakyat (PRIHATIN) that totals to RM250 billion, Muhyiddin assured us that all Malaysians will reap benefits.
RM128 billion will be allocated for the welfare of the people, RM100 billion will be used to support SMEs, and RM2 billion will be used to strengthen the country’s economy.
For employees, here are the initiatives that were announced.
1. For Employees In The Medical Sector
RM500 million will be given to Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). The government will further allocate an additional RM1 billion for the purchase of equipment and services to combat COVID-19, including obtaining medical specialist services from private health services.
In the first economic stimulus package, the government had agreed to give a special allowance to doctors, nurses and other medical personnel involved in fighting the pandemic.
Now, the government will increase the special allowance received from RM400 to RM600 a month from April 1, 2020 until the outbreak subsides.
2. For Employees In The Security Forces
The government will extend a special allowance of RM200 a month to members of the military, police, customs, immigration, members of the Civil Defense Force and members of RELA who are directly involved in the implementation of the Movement Control Command (MCO).
This allowance will also be paid from April 1, 2020 until the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. An estimated 169,000 additional employees will benefit from this.
3. For Employees In Other Sectors
The government will prepare Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, a one-off cash allocation of nearly RM10 billion, which for the first time will also be channelled to the M40 group.
These include employees in the private sector, FELDA settlers, farmers, fishermen, small traders, and all those belonging to the M40 groups and below.
The total payment can be broken down into:
- RM1,600 to nearly 4 million households earning a monthly income of RM4,000 and below. Payment of RM1,000 will be paid in April 2020, and RM600 in May 2020.
- RM1,000 to almost 1.1 million households earning over RM4,000 to RM8,000. RM500 will be paid in April 2020, and the remaining RM500 in May.
- RM800 to 3 million single individuals 21 years old and above with a monthly income of RM2,000 and below. The RM500 payment will be paid in April 2020, and the remaining RM300 in May 2020.
- RM500 to 400,000 single individuals aged 21 years and over with monthly income of RM2,000 to RM4,000. A payment of RM250 will be made in April 2020 and the remaining RM250 in May.
4. For Civil Servants Specifically
In recognition of civil servants’ contributions, the government will provide one-off cash assistance of RM500 to over 1.5 million civil servants in grades 56 and under, including contract workers. The payment will be made by April 2020.
5. For Employees In Service Contracts
This includes employees in cleaning services and food supply in schools, public schools, public training institutions, and other government agencies including statutory bodies.
The government has agreed to pay salaries incurred by involved contractors during the duration of the MCO even when employees are absent from work.
It is estimated that more than 80,000 employees will benefit from this initiative that involves an allocation of RM110 million.
Additionally, the government has also agreed to extend the terms of the relevant service contract by 1 month as a trade-off with the duration of the MCO.
6. To Protect Employees
The government will be introducing a wage subsidy programme to help employers retain workers.
This is so that employers can retain their employees and ensure that they still receive their salaries.
Through this programme, the government will provide a wage of RM600/month for 3 months.
It is aimed at employees earning less than RM4,000 and employers experiencing a 50% decrease in income since January 1, 2020.
Muhyiddin also announced that employers must ensure that they do not dismiss employees or direct them to take unpaid leave for 3 months after the program is implemented.
Also, employers are not allowed to deduct an employee’s existing pay.
With an allocation of RM5.9 billion, the move is expected to benefit 3.3 million workers.
While employees will be cared for during this time, employers seem to have gotten the short end of the stick.
Yes, there’s the wage subsidy programme, but that’s about it, apart from the option to delay payments, restructure, and reschedule employer contributions through the Employment Consultation Service on April 15, 2020.
Compare this to Singapore’s measures in their recently announced Resilience Budget.
In summary, their government announced some special packages for HR leaders and employers.
A few of them include:
- Job Support Scheme, where the government will offset 8% of wages for every local employee, up to a monthly wage cap of S$3,600, for three months.
- Wage Credit Scheme, to co-fund wage increases for Singaporean workers earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$4,000.
- Corporate Income Tax Rebate for Year of Assessment 2020, at a rate of 25% of tax payable, capped at S$15,000 per company.
With such examples, perhaps more could actually be done by the government to alleviate the burdens of employers.
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Featured Image Credit: Muhyiddin Yassin FB