- April 30, 2021
- Posted by: fnpf_editor2
- Categories: Media Articles, News & Media
The Fiji National Provident Fund has announced today an additional relief for its members as it reopens the Phase 4 withdrawal scheme.
The Phase 4 Round 2 relief has also been extended to include the following groups of members:
i. Drivers for taxis/minibuses and hire vehicles;
ii. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – members operating small businesses.
From Wednesday 5th May, these members will be able to apply for a one-off payment of $220 from their General Account – no government top up will be applicable.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Viliame Vodonaivalu assured members that the Fund has continued to take a member-centric focus in efforts to accommodate all segments of membership.
“We are constantly looking at ways that we can assist our members during these challenging times. The additional relief will hopefully alleviate some burdens for our members in this lockdown period,” said Mr. Vodonaivalu.
Criteria for Phase 4 Round 2 relief
Members must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
• have at least one contribution paid between January 2010 and September 2019
• have a minimum of $85 in their General Account
The amount that can be accessed is $50-$220 depending on the member’s general account balance.
There are no requirements for Phase 4 Round 2 therefore no forms are available and members wishing to access this relief must apply on the myFNPF mobile App.
Members will also not qualify if they are already accessing Phase 2 Round 5, Phase 3 Round 4, the Voluntary relief or the lockdown relief for working members.
Extension of contribution payment deadline for Employers
The Fund has also extended the deadline for April 2021 contribution payments.
“Contributions are usually due on the month end, but given the current situation, we have extended the deadline for payments by two weeks and is now due on 14th May, 2021.”
“It’s important that employers upload their contribution schedules by the end of today, 30th April, to qualify for the deadline extension and waiver of penalties,” said Mr. Vodonaivalu.
The Fund will send the relevant information to all employers about payment options that are available online. This is to reduce physical visits to FNPF offices.
The Fund would like to remind members that all its offices, except for Valelevu which is closed, are operating on limited services.
FNPF will only provide services at its offices, for urgent funeral or medical applications as well as Cashier services.
Members are encouraged to access all other FNPF services online.
Applications for Housing and Education is now suspended. Members can lodge their withdrawal applications online but processing will continue when FNPF resumes normal operations.
Members must lodge their unemployment applications (COVID-19 relief) via the mobile app and no forms will be issued at any FNPF offices.
“We understand our role in providing essential services which is why we will remain open. However it is important that we scale down the services we are providing, as we face the reality of what our country is going through – therefore, safety is paramount for members and of course, our staff”, says Mr Vodonaivalu.
“We are now operating with minimal staff on site and we’ll not take lightly the advisories given by the relevant authorities. With the restricted movement imposed we urge our members to please stay home and reach out to us either by phone, email or social media”
Lockdown relief for working members
“Our teams continue to process applications for working members who have applied for the lockdown relief. We have received a total of 8,163 members’ names from 366 employers however, applications continue to trickle in. Of these members, 518 have submitted their applications.”
“A total of $48,180 has been paid to 219 members – $12,414.16 was topped up by Government and $35,765.84 was paid by the Fund.”
“We continue to face challenges with this relief – particularly, the timely submission of members’ names by employers. This is a key part of the application process because we need employers to confirm that if their staff have had their wages impacted – either reduced or not paid at all during this lockdown period.”
“That validation can only be provided by employers. These names will be part of a lockdown white list that will be uploaded to the mobile app, to allow members to apply on their phones.”
“So we urge employers to please send us their names to enable your staff to apply on the mobile app.”
Employers that have closed and whose staff are finding it difficult to reach them, can go to the FNPF website to access information that has been updated to assist them.
Members can also download the form for this relief from our website and email or message it to their employer for submission on the Employer Portal.
“Our teams are ready to assist employers where necessary and we request that they please get in touch with FNPF urgently.”
The Fund is also reminding its members that further withdrawals will impact interest that would be credited on 30 June 2021 and their future retirement.
“The opening up of withdrawals, is to assist members during this pandemic period. And members are only accessing their general account for this relief.”
“There have been calls to open up the preserved account, especially for those who have exhausted their general account balance – we will not do that. We will continue to explore ways, to assist our members but within the ambit of the FNPF Act.”
“It is our duty to remind members to be mindful of their withdrawals and to only access their FNPF if they really need to. Any withdrawal will have an impact on their retirement,” Mr Vodonaivalu adds.
Members can contact FNPF on 3307811, email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to the Fund on social media.