employer cpf contribution

A Complete Guide To Employer CPF Contributions In Singapore

Singapore’s CPF is a mandatory saving scheme to cover workers’ social security needs. Both the employee and employers participate in this system by paying CPF contributions. On the other hand, the government plays its role by guaranteeing a risk-free interest rate that depends on the account type, age, and actual savings.

Under the CPF Act, employers must pay CPF contributions for their Singaporean Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents employees earning more than S$50 per month. These contributions help fund employees’ retirement, healthcare, and housing needs.

Through CPF, employers help guarantee a better life and secure Singapore workforce retirement by making prompt and adequate CPF contributions. With this, you’ll find everything you need to know about the roles and obligations of employers concerning CPF contributions in this post. 

Employer CPF Contribution

Managing an employee’s CPF contribution can be challenging without completely understanding the CPF Act. The CPF Act helps both the employee and the employer understand their legal obligations as contributors to the CPF fund. To give you a quick overview of important details, check out the relevant sections below.

 

Who Are Employers Under The Law?

By definition, under the CPF Act, an employer can be

  • A person, body of persons, company, association by whom an employee is employed.
  • Vessel owners on which an employee works.
  • Any person, agent, or manager who pays employees’ wages on behalf of the employer.

Who Is Entitled To CPF Contributions From An Employer?

All employers must pay CPF contributions of their employees, particularly those earning above S$50 per month. As stated in the CPF Act, employees eligible for CPF contributions from employers are

  • Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) working under a contract of service.
  • SCs and SPRs who work as a master, seaman, or apprentice in any vessel engaged under a service contract.

This rule applies to employees on a permanent, casual, and part-time basis. However, employers don’t need to pay CPF contributions for those working overseas.

Wages Attracting CPF Contributions

Under the CPF Act, wages are defined as money due or granted to a person regarding his employment. These monthly wages are subject to CPF contributions. It includes the following

  • Basic wage or monthly salary
  • Overtime pay
  • Bonuses
  • Allowances
  • Commissions
  • Other cash incentives

Termination pay, reimbursements, and non-cash benefits are not considered wages. 

Wages are further classified into two categories:

1.Ordinary Wages (OW)

Ordinary wages are granted wholly or exclusively in exchange for employees’ work during the month. These wages are also payable by the 14th of the following month.

A CPF contribution for ordinary wages is currently capped at S$6,000 only.  

2.Additional Wages (AW) 

Wages not classified as ordinary wages are the additional wages for the month such as bonuses, performance incentives, meal or travel allowances, and others.

Additional Wage ceiling limits the CPF contribution that this wage classification can attract. You can compute this quickly by using the AW ceiling calculator.

Currently, the cap on additional wages is S$102,000* less ordinary wages subject to CPF contributions for the year.

*S$102,000 computed at S$6,000 x 17 months.

The sum of these two makes up for the Total Wages (TW). 

employee savings

Making The Required Employees’ CPF Contributions

As an employer, you must fulfill the total CPF contributions according to your employees’ age and wage rates. You are entitled to recover the employees’ share when you pay their wages. 

Here are the steps to making your employer’s CPF contributions:

  1. Apply for a CPF submission number (CSN). This number is used as a unique identifier for your CPF contributions. To do this:
  • Visit the CPF website and apply using your Singpass.
  • Wait for approval through email. 
  • Expect a letter containing your CSN and a Direct Debit Authorization Form. 
  1. Keep your contact and business details up-to-date. You must also inform CPF if you no longer have employees working for you.
  2. Submit CPF contributions promptly. As of now, there are two convenient ways to submit monthly CPF contributions.

A.CPF EZPay

With CPF EZPay, you can save time as CPF contributions of employees can be automatic. You can also set it up for monthly recurring payments. Three ways to pay using this method are

1. Set up payments by loading and saving your employees’ details. Use the auto-compute feature to calculate the required CPF contribution. Click here if you want to choose this option.

2. For those using Direct Debit, set up your ESI within CPF EZPay, and your monthly dues will be auto-debited. This method is ideal for those employers’ CPF contributions that do not change each month. 

Here are the steps to complete your ESI application:

  • Visit cpf.gov.sg and select Employer under the Member tab.
  • Click on Submit CPF Contributions button.
  • Select the type of business entity and log in using your Singpass.
  • Select the Activate Electronic Standing Instruction (ESI) option.
  • Read instructions on how ESI works and click the continue button.
  • Key-in important employee and payment details and click the continue button.
  • Click the Activate ESI on the screen, and you’re done.

You can also view, amend, and deactivate your ESI submissions. 

 3. Upload your monthly submission details via a PDF file. Here are the easy steps:

  • Visit cpf.gov.sg and select Employer under the Member tab.
  • Login and choose CPF EZPay.
  • Select the type of business entity and log in using your Singpass.
  • Select CPF EZPay (FTP).
  • Click browse, choose your file and click continue.
  • Check your submission and select a payment method to complete the transaction.
  • Check your mail for an acknowledgment of payment.

B.CPF EZPay Mobile

Another convenient and hassle-free way to pay your CPF contributions is through the mobile app. The app is available for both Apple and Android gadgets. After download:

  1. Enter your CSN and NRIC and choose the particular payment period (month and year).
  2. Enter employee details. You can add more as necessary.
  3. Check details and continue to the submission page if there are no corrections.
  4. Select the payment option. Include your email address in the field provided.
  5. If you choose PayNow QR, save the QR code and load it in your bank’s mobile app.
  6. You will receive a payment acknowledgment through the email you have provided.

How Much Do Singapore Employers Contribute To Their Employees’ CPF Accounts?

Changes to the contribution rates to the CPF fund took effect last January 1, 2022. CPF implemented this amendment to increase retirement adequacy for employees aged 55 and above. Still, this varies with the employee’s age and total wages and is capped at only S$6,000 of the employees’ salary. 

An employee’s CPF contributions can range up to 20%, while employers contribute up to 17% of their employees’ wages to their CPF accounts. Check the table below for a better view of the CPF contribution rates:

Workers’ Age Total Wages (TW) Workers’ Age Total Wages (TW) Employers’ CPF Contribution

(% of Wage)

Employees’ CPF Contribution

(% of Wage)

Total CPF Contributions

(% of Wage)

55 and below S$50 – S$500 55 and below S$50 – S$500 17 0 17 
S$501 – S$750 S$501 – S$750 17 (TW-500) X 0.6%
S$751 and above S$751 and above 17 20 37
56 to 60 S$50 – S$500 56 to 60 S$50 – S$500 14 0 14 
S$501 – S$750 S$501 – S$750 14 (TW-500) X 0.42%
S$751 and above S$751 and above 14 14 28
61 to 65 S$50 – S$500 61 to 65 S$50 – S$500 10 0 10
S$501 – S$750 S$501 – S$750 10 (TW-500) X 0.255%
S$751 and above S$751 and above 10 8.5 18.5
66 to 70 S$50 – S$500 66 to 70 S$50 – S$500 8 0 8
S$501 – S$750 S$501 – S$750 8 (TW-500) X 0.18%
S$751 and above S$751 and above 8 6 14
Above 70 S$50 – S$500 Above 70 S$50 – S$500 7.5 0 7.5
S$501 – S$750 S$501 – S$750 7.5 (TW-500) X 0.15%
S$751 and above S$751 and above 7.5 5 12.5

 

If you look at the table above, employers contribute CPF at a uniform percentage for a specific age bracket, regardless of their total wages. 

Further, no employee contribution is required for those earning S$500 and below. With this, low-wage workers will have higher take-home pays. 

CPF contributions for Singapore Permanent Residents are also the same as with citizens. It only varies on the first two years of employment. Check the table below for CPF contribution rates: 

SPR Workers’ Age Employers’ CPF Contribution

(% of Wage)

Employees’ CPF Contribution

(% of Wage)

1st-year 2nd-year 1st-year 2nd-year
55 and below 4 9 5 15
56 to 60 4 6 5 12.5
61 to 65 3.5 3.5 5 7.5
66 to 70 3.5 3.5 5 5
71 and above 3.5 3.5 5 5

retirement plan

Non-Compliance To Employers’ CPF Contributions

All employers should ensure that CPF contributions for employees are paid promptly. If you cannot pay on time, make sure to pay the arrears the soonest possible time to avoid penalties and interests.

The due date for all employer CPF contributions is every last calendar day of the month. If you fail to pay by the 14th of the following month (or the next working day if this day falls on a weekend or a public holiday), the CPF Board will take enforcement actions against you. 

CPF Board Actions

The CPF Board will immediately take action and impose penalties as soon as non-compliance is detected. Below are board actions to expect should you fail to pay your employees’ CPF contributions after the grace period.

1. Inspections

Non-compliant employers will be subject to inspections that include:

  • Entering the workplace.
  • Interviewing employees.
  • Requiring the employer to produce necessary documents for the inspection.
  • Take documents or make copies of the requested records.

2. Enforcement Actions

The employer will also be required to pay outstanding CPF contributions and late payment interests. Additionally, the CPF Board may also impose a composition amount. You should pay all these within a given deadline; else, you may be convicted to imprisonment, pay court fines, or both.

3. Penalties

a. Late Payment Interests

A 1.5% per month interest charge is immediately imposed the day after the due date and is subject to a minimum of S$5. To quickly compute your interest charges, use this interest calculator.

You can pay interest rates using the same submission mode for regular CPF contributions. 

b. Composition Amount

The CPF Board may impose a composition amount of up to S$1,000 per offense made. Employees can only settle the case out of court if they have already paid all outstanding balances, including late payment interests.

Click here for a more detailed guide on paying the composition amount and late payment interest charged.

c. Court Fine Or Imprisonment

The CPF Board will commence prosecution if the employer does not pay all the required dues on or before the given deadline.

Employers who are convicted under Section 58 of the CPF Act are liable for:

1st offense:

  • Court fine of S$1,000 to S$5,000 or
  • Imprisonment of up to six months
  • Both fines and imprisonment

Succeeding offenses:

  • Court fine of S$2,000 to S$10,000 or
  • Imprisonment of up to twelve months
  • Both fines and imprisonment

Further, the CPF Board will still require the employer to pay all payment due through a court order.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1.What happens if I omit a payment or make an underpayment for my employee?

You need to rectify the omission or underpayment as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be charged higher late interest fees.

2.What about overpayment? Can I request a refund?

If you erroneously overpaid a CPF contribution for your employee, you can request a refund or an adjustment. You can either request a refund for the affected employee or refund your entire payment. 

You may also apply for a refund of CPF contributions made on conditional wages and excess contributions paid above the Additional Wages (AW) ceiling.

3.What are some common mistakes to avoid when determining CPF contributions?

Common mistakes made by employers are

  • Omission or non-payment of CPF contributions for employees who are on a probationary, temporary, contractual, casual, or daily-rate basis. 
  • Non-payment of CPF contributions for an employee who requested not to be deducted with CPF contributed to higher take-home pay.
  • Non-payment of CPF for employees who did not complete a whole month of employment. 
  • Underpayments due to non-application on additional wages.
  • Wrong CPF contribution rate used on computation for SCs and SPRs. 

You should also correct these mistakes as soon as possible to avoid penalties and being reported for non-compliance.

Conclusion

CPF is designed to bridge the gap in fulfilling a comfortable life after retirement for every Singapore worker. It also helps workers pay for home purchases and medical bills. So, as a responsible employer, pay your employer’s CPF contribution promptly. After all, these funds go a long way in terms of financial security and are a lifesaver to many.

Key Takeaways:

  • Employers are critical contributors to the success of the CPF.
  • Low-waged workers benefit from the CPF to grow their savings without being required CPF contributions.
  • You can report non-compliant employers to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for CPF contributions and other workers’ rights violations.

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