More than 30,000 Malaysian employees seek wage subsidies

Introduced on April 1, the Wage Subsidy Scheme is an extension of Malaysia’s employment retention programme announced in the Economic Stimulus Package 2020 on March 16.
By: | April 21, 2020

Struggling to cope with the financial impact brought forth by the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 30,000 applications have been submitted by employers under Malaysia’s Wage Subsidy Scheme. An extension of the Economic Stimulus Package 2020, which was announced on March 16, the new scheme allows all companies with local employees earning a monthly salary of RM$4,000 or less to be eligible for wage subsidies.

According to the Social Security Organisation (Socso), which administers the scheme, the employment insurance system (EIS) has received 31,324 applications from employers since April 10, involving 299, 858 employees. From the total applications, 30,978 companies employ below 75 employees, 448 employ between 76 and 200 , and 78 employ more than 201.

For companies with more than 200 employees, they are eligible for a wage subsidy of RM$600 per month for every retained worker, up to a maximum of 200 workers. Companies employing between 75 and 200 employees will receive a monthly wage subsidy of RM$800 for every employee, while companies with less than 75 employees will be provided a monthly wage subsidy of RM$1,200 per employee.

This assistance is available for a three-month period and is available to employers who are registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia before Jan 1, 2020, and which are registered with Sosco.

For the self-employed in Malaysia, COVID-19 is proving to be particularly hard-hitting. A recent survey conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported that almost half of self-employed respondents (46.6%) lost their jobs during the enforcement of the Movement Control Order from March 18-31.

“In terms of financial savings, more than two-thirds (71.4%) of self-employed respondents have sufficient savings for less than one month. Only 6.2% of respondents said they were less affected and 52.6% of respondents informed they were financially most affected,” said the survey.

Other key findings from the survey showed that the agriculture and services sectors recorded the highest percentage of job losses. For the agriculture sector, 33% of workers in the fisheries sub-sector reported job losses, with the agriculture and plantation recording 21.1%. In the services sector, the food and beverage services sub-sector recorded 35.4%, followed by the transport and storage sub-sector with 18.7%.