More than $600 million in arrears was recovered from employers by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board last year, it said yesterday.
About $635.1 million was recovered from employers who had underpaid, not paid or made late payments for CPF contributions, benefiting more than 380,000 employees, said the board.
The amount tops the record $516 million recovered in 2015.
Last year, $19.7 million was recovered from cases of underpayment or non-payment from 1,608 employers, benefiting 16,202 employees.
Among these cases, 32 employers voluntarily came forward upon realising they were not compliant with the CPF Act.
The highest amount recovered through a firm's voluntary action was from an employer in the financial sector which informed the board in March last year that it had wrongly classified its employees' incentive payments as ordinary wages (OW) instead of additional wages (AW). This resulted in underpayment of CPF contributions as the firm had applied the monthly OW ceiling when computing CPF contributions for its employees instead of the annual AW ceiling.
This year, we are particularly encouraged by the 32 employers who came forward to self-rectify for 2016, which resulted in the recovery of about $1 million in arrears for about 800 employees.
MS BELINDA TEOH, CPF Board group director of employer collections and enforcement.
After the CPF Board verified with the employer's records, the employer paid up CPF arrears amounting to over $400,000 for the period between 2004 and last year. This benefited about 180 employees.
The board also actively follows up on feedback from members of the public to help workers recover their due CPF contributions.
One such case was when the board received anonymous feedback in March 2015 that a restaurant was not paying CPF for its part-time employees.
The board acted on the feedback and conducted a field visit to the restaurant. The employer admitted that he did not pay CPF for part-time employees and claimed he was not aware that part-time employees were also eligible for CPF contributions.
The board then worked out an instalment plan to help the employer fully pay up the CPF arrears amounting to about $50,000 for 118 employees for the period between January 2013 and March 2015.
The remaining $615.4 million recovered comprised late CPF contributions from an average of some 5,440 employers each month last year. Most of the late payments were recovered within a month. The board helped more than 363,000 workers get their due CPF contributions.
Ms Belinda Teoh, CPF Board group director of employer collections and enforcement, said: "This year, we are particularly encouraged by the 32 employers who came forward to self-rectify for 2016, which resulted in the recovery of about $1 million in arrears for about 800 employees."
There were 22 convictions for non-payment and underpayment of CPF contributions and 350 convictions for late payment last year. All convicted employers were fined and ordered to pay the CPF arrears by the State Court.
The board reminded employers of their CPF obligations to their local employees. Workers should also check their CPF accounts via the CPF website regularly to ensure their employers have made the correct contributions, it said.
To report non-payment or underpayment of CPF contributions, or non-compliance with the Employment Act, members of the public can call 1800-221-9922 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.