KUALA LUMPUR – Each employer, company or organisation has its own specific way in taking care of the welfare of employees by offering certain advantages, rewards or annual incentives.
Most companies provide a somewhat standard benefit menu such as medicine, dental or vision care but recently student loan assistance is finding its way into mainstream menu of workplace benefits following announcement by the government under Budget 2019 which called for employers to help repay their workers’ outstanding loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).
Under the initiative, companies that are paying off their employees’s PTPTN loans would enjoy tax relief.
Seeing it as a ‘win-win’ opportunity, Vector InfoTech Sdn Bhd is setting a good example by being one of the earliest employers to sign up for the initiative and has began offering its employees student loan assistance a few month ago.
Its managing director Hii Ding Sin said the company’s commitment to help employees pay back their PTPTN loans is a great strategy to attract, retain and reward top and new talents.
“Through the programme employers would not only enjoy tax relief, but it would also be an added value that could boost employees’ performance and loyalty to the company…we will be able to keep the very good and high competently staff to stay with us,” he said when met by media recently.
Since its implementation in May, Hii said the company has made full loan payments for two workers totalling almost RM63,000.
“The company plans to maximise the PTPTN repayment initiative to about 10 other employees through monthly installment payment, starting this October.
“We are currently in the process of evaluating and identifying potential employees who would be given the incentive based on the key performance indicator (KPI) set by the company,” he added.
Vector Infotech Sdn Bhd specialises in the supply of reliable industrial products and solutions to local and multinational corporations from the oil & gas, petrochemicals, power, utilities, transportation & chemicals, semi-conductor, building & construction, food, pulp and paper industries, with over 120 staff nationwide.
Looking at the benefits of the initiative enjoyed by both employers and employees, Hii hopes more employers and organisations would respond and join the programme.
“I hope more companies and employers take this opportunity (initiative) as it is a win-win situation for both employees and company.
“I also truly hope that the government will continue this effort in future. This is what we can do to help society,” he added.
Meanwhile, commenting on the programme, PTPTN deputy chief executive (Policy & Operation) Mastura Mohd Khalid said both methods of payment could be used by the employer or company namely monthly installment or full payment.
Employers who made payment automatically would be eligible for tax relief.
“There is no minimum or maximum amount set as it depended on the discretion of the employer to assist the employee. If the employee is ordered repay what had been paid by the employer, complaints can be filed with PTPTN and it would be extended to Inland Revenue Board for investigation.
“Employers who made false claims would be charged under the Income Tax Act 1967,” she said.
However, she said those who are employers themselves would not be eligible to tax relief as the primary condition is for employers to assist their staff in making PTPTN repayment.
Employers who wish to help repay their employees’ PTPTN loans can surf PTPTN portal at www.ptptn.gov.my (Online Employer Portal).