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Malaysia's EPF, Grab Malaysia encourage gig worker retirement savings

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Malaysia’s 981.7 billion ringgit ($236.6 billion) Employees Provident Fund and Grab Malaysia, a local transport and food delivery heavyweight, announced Tuesday they will continue to collaborate to get Grab’s drivers and delivery “partners” to save for their retirement.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding — expanding on an initial MOU inked in August 2018 —o to “encourage Grab’s community of driver and delivery-partners” to save through the EPF’s “i-Saraan” voluntary contribution program.

Gig economy workers aren’t part of the mandatory savings scheme that covers the bulk of the country’s formal sector workers, which requires employees and employers to contribute 9% and 12%-13%, respectively, of monthly salaries to employees’ individual accounts.

Under i-Saraan, the government matches up to 15% of an individual’s annual contributions to the EPF, up to a ceiling of 250 ringgit per year.

Grab, meanwhile, under the initial 2018 MOU, agreed to make a matching contribution of 5% for contributions to i-Saraan by the company’s “driver and delivery-partners,” up to a ceiling of 80 ringgit annually.

Under the latest MOU, that 5%/80 ringgit scheme will remain for drivers and delivery workers under age 55 but in addition, those 55 and above can enjoy matching contributions of 10%, up to a maximum of 120 ringgit annually, an EPF spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for GRAB said during the pandemic, the ranks of drivers and delivery workers had surged by more than 50,000 to over 150,000. She couldn’t immediately say how many of those workers were making voluntary contributions to retirement savings.