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Approval for companies to delay EPF remittances PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 April 2020 20:01
The Department of Labour will permit certain companies to delay remittances to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) without having to pay any surcharges, The Sunday Morning Business learns.

This relief measure is being provided to companies based on a request by Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General (DG)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kanishka Weerasinghe, considering the current lack of working capital in companies across many industries due to the impact of Covid-19.

When contacted for clarification, Commissioner General of Labour R.P.A. Wimalaweera told us that while this was not a major issue during such a serious health and economic crisis, if certain companies are unable to remit EPF contributions for justifiable reasons, they would be exempt from the surcharge.

“EPF surcharge exemptions will definitely be considered but those are not the most important problems at the moment. What is important at the moment is whether or not employees will get their salaries. However, if and when a company applies to the Commissioner General, if it can justify the delay and prove that it was for reasons beyond its control, they will definitely get relief. That is being considered at the moment,” noted Wimalaweera.

Upon receiving requests from the companies, Wimalaweera, who has statutory authority to allow companies to delay EPF payments, would take the matter case by case and provide them a certain time period to settle their EPF payments, without imposing any surcharges.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, EFC DG/CEO Weerasinghe stated that the request was made a couple of weeks ago to the Department of Labour and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Skills Development, Employment, and Labour Relations Dinesh Gunawardena.

“Owners are trying to pay wages and keep employees in employment amidst reduced working capital and that is to ensure job security,” Weerasinghe noted.

According to Weerasinghe, EPF surcharges could be as much as 50%, in case of a delayed EPF payment.

“Though we have requested for a general directive from the Minister, the decision to do so was put off and will be reconsidered at a meeting of the Special Task Force which has been set up to assess employment-related matters chaired by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 20 April,” quipped Weerasinghe.

The time period that will be given to the companies to delay EPF payments will be decided case by case, according to Weerasinghe.

When contacted, Subject Minister Gunawardena told The Sunday Morning Business that he is aware of the request to allow delayed EPF remittances for companies without being subjected to surcharges and stated that it was one among many proposals he discussed recently with the EFC and trade unions.

“No decision has been taken with regard to delaying EPF payments. We have not decided on anything yet. We will have another meeting on 20 April. The first priority is people’s health and the prevailing condition in the country. Before all these things, there are many issues to be sorted, like settling salaries of people for the month of April,” Gunawardena added.

The EPF was established under the Employees’ Provident Fund Act No. 15 of 1958 and is currently the largest social security scheme in Sri Lanka. The EPF has over Rs. 2,289 billion worth of assets. The total investment portfolio (book value) of the fund grew by 15.4% to Rs. 2,298.8 billion as at end-2018 from Rs. 1,992.4 billion recorded at end-2017. According to the EPF Act, an employee is required to contribute a minimum of 8% and the employer a minimum of 12% of the total salary of the employee monthly.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 12 April 2020 20:05

The EMPFED -Third Issue - June 2020