An employer’s role in ensuring that its employees are well taken care of in terms of wages and statutory contributions is a significant one. Playing a part in helping your employees secure a good foundation during their prime years of working and building a safety net for their retirement is never a small part - it is a vital one that is often cited as one of the most important criteria that can retain talent.
Companies that hire employees in Singapore are mandated by law to make Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions to their employees. If you are an employer looking for information on CPF contributions and how to do so for your employees, this blog post is a handy guide.
What Is CPF Contribution?
CPF is known as Singapore’s national retirement scheme. Established to meet significant financial needs such as retirement and home ownership, it is a mandatory savings scheme that is based on employment - requiring eligible employees and their employers to contribute monthly to the fund.
The CPF contribution is accumulated in three main accounts: Ordinary Account (OA), MediSave Account (MA), and Special Account (SA). When a Singaporean employee’s age reaches 55 years old, a Retirement Account (RA) is also created for the employee.1
What type of employees should be paid CPF contributions by their employers?
The CPF Act of Singapore defines employee as:
- A person employed in Singapore under a Contract of Service (COS); or
- A Singapore citizen who is employed under a contract of service or other agreement entered into in Singapore as a master, seaman or apprentice in any vessel.
An employee can be employed either by the following terms or basis:
- Full time
- Part time
Any employee who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents earning a total salary of more than $50 per month are entitled to CPF contribution by their employers.
However, there are some employees who are exempted from CPF contributions. They include:
- Students who fulfil exemption criteria from certain schools, Madrasahs, private or overseas tertiary education institutions
- Foreigners who are not Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents
- Domestic employees whose employment not exceeding 14 hours in any week - such as cooks, maids and gardeners
- Employees of United Nations (UN) or any agency or institution of UN stationed in Singapore
- Seamen who fulfil exemption criteria such as Singapore citizens who are employed in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish ships and employed under specific conditions and terms.2
What are the CPF contribution rates for 2024?
The following table summarises the contribution rate for CPF 2024:3
There are a few ways to ensure compliance with CPF contributions as an employer, and they include:
- Making sure that CPF contributions are paid on time
- Timely communication of payment dates to your employees
- Ensuring a fair explanation to your employees if you missed a CPF payment on time4
In essence, good communication between employers and employees as well as a timely recorded CPF payment that is set up for every month will help you stay compliant and avoid penalties associated with late payments of CPF contributions.
What should an employer do if you want to adjust CPF contributions to your employee(s)?
First of all, you should keep your employee(s) informed on the adjustment. Do notify the affected employee(s) to ensure that they are aware of the changes and that you are applying for an adjustment of their CPF contributions. Resolve any conflict that might arise before handing in the submission for the CPF adjustment application.
Secondly, you should adjust the contributions immediately and no later than one year. Rectify any errors in CPF contributions early while the documentary evidence is fresh. In order to encourage employers and employees to check their CPF contributions and to rectify any possible errors soonest, the request for adjustment should be made immediately and no later than one year from the date of the CPF contribution payments.
Last but not least, although CPF employer can apply for adjustment of contributions, the adjustment is subject to availability of funds. This means that the adjustment will not be in effect should there be insufficient funds in the employee’s CPF account for the adjustment.5
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