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Jun 1, 2018

EPF for housewives: Is 2% enough?

 
A lawyer has welcomed the proposal to give housewives a portion of their husbands’ contributions to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), but says the suggested figure of 2% is too small to reflect the value of their work.

“Because she cooks, you don’t need a chef; because she drives, you don’t need a chauffeur; because she looks after your kids, you don’t need a nanny,” said VK Raj, who specialises in labour laws. “Can we then say 2% is enough?”

Speaking to FMT, he suggested that employers be required to add to the contribution by giving another 2% of their married male employees’ monthly salaries if their spouses are housewives. He said employers should recognise that such workers would be freed from worrying about their duties at home and would therefore be better at their work.

Raj said the EPF Act would also have to be amended to allow housewives to open EPF accounts.

“A wife who’s never worked outside the home wouldn’t already have an account,” he said.

He also said the definition of a housewife needed to be made clear. “What if both husband and wife are working, but the wife works part-time and doubles as a housewife?”

He suggested that the law refer to “homemaker” instead of “housewife” to recognise men who perform duties normally associated with housewives while their wives hold jobs outside the home.

He said the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law would make it illegal to deny these men the proposed EPF contributions.

Raj also said the law needed to address the issue of polygamous marriages. “Does a man have to give up another 2% of his EPF contribution if he has two wives and they’re both housewives? Or do the wives have to split the 2% between them? What if there are three or four wives?”

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J Solomon told FMT he would urge the government to consult stakeholders to prevent confusion in the implementation of the idea.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said that the proposal is one of her priorities. When she announced it last week, she said she would also propose that the government contribute RM50 a month to every housewife’s EPF account.

By Robin Augustin
Source : FMT

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