PETALING JAYA: In recognition of the role of housewives as homemakers, the Employees Provident Fund will now allow husbands to make contributions to accounts under their wives' names.

This move is aimed at providing the housewives some financial security in their old age and also prevent them from being left in the lurch should their spouses desert them.

In line with this, the EPF said it would embark on a campaign to educate housewives on this provision so that they could encourage their husbands to make the contributions.

EPF deputy chief executive officer (management and organisation development) Rusma Ibrahim said that one benefit of being EPF members was that the housewives would earn better returns in the form of dividends compared to the interest from bank savings accounts.

In addition, the housewives would be entitled to other benefits like disability payouts.

"A homemaker performs one of the most vital roles in society, yet she is given little recognition in terms of the value of her work.

"Contributing to her EPF will redress this inequality and at the same time provide some financial security for her in her old age," Rusma told The Star.

"If the husband earns enough, we do not see why he cannot contribute to his non-working wife's portion of the EPF," she added.

This could be done through the EPF's self-employed contribution scheme by completing the KWSP 16D form.

Rusma said the housewives would be classified as self-employed members and would be required to contribute a minimum monthly deduction of RM50.

She said the move to ask husbands to contribute for their wives was driven by the concern that they should have enough savings to enable them to live out their golden years.

"The EPF recognises that getting members to put aside some savings for their old age early in their working lives will require a sustained education campaign.

"We have started to focus on this subject for a while now through the media as well as at public forums," she said.

Women's groups hailed the move by the EPF, saying it was the first time a major government agency was recognising the hard work put in by homemakers.

Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said this was part of the government's gender sensitisation programme.

"We will work with the EPF to educate the women on getting their husbands to contribute for them," said Dr Ng who is also Deputy Finance Minister.

She also advised women who were getting married to make this a part of the deal with their would-be spouses.

Sisters in Islam executive director Zainah Anwar said the EPF's initiative was a good way to recognise and value the women's work at home "as wife, mother, cook, cleaner, driver, tuition teacher, counsellor and gardener, who is on call 24 hours a day."

She urged the EPF to also consider other areas of concerns that women's groups and single mothers have raised in the past which remained unresolved.

Source: The Star

-Saw this on The Star's headline on Monday, but didn't manage to really read it until today. I think it's good and those who would be getting married should also try to discuss this with their future husband as safety net in any cases where the husband might not be around to provide for them anymore (separation bcoz of divorce or death). At least, will have savings while looking for jobs & for the benefits of their children as well.-