You have the questions, we have the answers

THE Wage Subsidy Programme was introduced by the government to assist employers who are economically impacted as a result of Covid-19 and to make sure they can continue operating their company while preventing the workers from losing their jobs.

Malaysians earning less than RM4,000 a month are eligible for the subsidies with the amount depending on the size of the company’s workforce. Companies that employ more than 200 people will receive RM600 per retained worker while those employing between 75 and 200 employees will get RM800. Those with fewer than 75 employees will get RM1,200.

Below are the frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to the programme.

Q: What is the Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU)?

A: It is financial aid paid to the employer of each company for each local employee who earns a salary of RM4,000 monthly and below. Initially, the subsidy was for a period of three months, but this was extended to six months in total.

Q: When does the PSU come into force?

A: The PSU went into effect on April 1 for six months or when the application was submitted.

Q: When does the programme end?

A: The deadline for applications is Sept 30.

Q: Can employees who are instructed to take unpaid leave apply for PSU, which was previously covered under the Employment Retention Program (ERP)?

A: Beginning June 15, the ERP will be incorporated under the PSU. The expansion of this PSU includes employees who have been instructed to take unpaid leave, provided that they work in the tourism or other sectors that are still prohibited to operate during the recovery movement control order. The employer can apply for PSU provided that the employee receives direct subsidy payments. Employers under the tourism sector need to verify their industry activities when submitting a PSU application.

Q: Who is not eligible to apply for PSU?

A: Employers or companies that register and operate on or after Jan 1. Unregistered employers or employees who never contributed to Socso before April 1 are also not eligible. The programme does not cover employees who are paid more than RM4,000 monthly, retired employees, public sector workers, and the self-employed.

Q: What is the definition of income of RM4,000 and below intended for this PSU application?

A: The interpretation of salary or income is in accordance with the Employees’ Social Security Act. All payments in the form of money to employees is regarded as salary. This includes basic salary, commissions, overtime pay, incentive allowances, living expenses and service charge.

Q: Can employers who have been operating before Jan 1 but not registered with Socso apply for PSU?

A: No. Any employer who wants to apply for PSU must have registered with Socso before April 1. They also had to be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, local authorities or other professional bodies before Jan 1 and has at least one employee.

Q: If an employer applies for the PSU in June, will the wage subsidy be paid from April (backdated) or starting in June?

A: Wage subsidies will be paid from the month of the application submitted, with no backdated monthly payments. Applications received before Sept 30 will receive a six-month wage subsidy.

Q: If an employee who previously received the PSU resigns, do employers need to submit a new application?

A: No. Employers do not need to submit new applications and only need to update employee information by submitting a new list of workers through the Prihatin portal the following month. The employer’s failure to report such changes may be subject to legal action.