Imported labour out of social security system

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Issue 960, Page 3
Word count: 481
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The lawmakers’ proposal of offering medical allowances for imported workers that choose to contribute to the Social Security Fund in the future was turned down by the government, which said that the social security system is formulated for Macau residents only.

Imported workers in Macau will no longer require contributing to the Social Security Fund (FSS) after the foreign labour law comes into effect on April 26 this year.

The Third Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly, which has been deliberating the bill to revise the social security system, said last week that it suggested to the government the introduction of a separate social security contribution plan for non-local workers, who could choose to continue to contribute to FSS in exchange for medical and accidental death allowances in the future.

However, committee president Cheang Chi Keong told reporters after yesterday’s meeting that the government representatives have made it clear that they do not want to include imported labour in the bill, since Macau’s social security system is made to cover local residents.

At present, imported workers are only protected by insurance policies purchased by their employers.

The foreign labour law has formulated certain protection for non-locals who come to work in Macau, but whether or not there shall be more supplementary regulations to increase the protection, Cheang said “it is not within their scope of discussion this time”.

Meanwhile, Cheang said the standing committee and the government have successfully reached a consensus regarding the definition of FSS beneficiaries.

It is agreed that all Macau permanent and non-permanent residents can become FSS beneficiaries in the future.

The “22-year-old restriction” for non-employee beneficiaries will also be abolished, Cheang said.

The government-drafted bill originally proposed that non-employee beneficiaries must have to be a Macau permanent resident, at 22 years old or above and to be physically in Macau at least 183 days in each of the two years immediately before the applications are submitted to FSS.

However, Cheang said the government insisted that the “183-day restriction” has to be retained, which is to maintain consistency with the regulations of the already-implemented central saving system and also to show there is “some sort of contact” between the beneficiaries and Macau.

After the residents are accepted to become FSS beneficiaries, Cheang said they will no longer be bound and are free to live outside of Macau.

Cheang said that even if all non-employee residents in Macau were going to contribute to FSS, the government has assured that it will have sufficient financial resources to afford the age pensions or other related allowances.

It has also been confirmed that employees and those who are hired by locally registered companies but are sent to work outside of Macau will be obliged to contribute to the FSS.

However, Cheang said the standing committee disagreed with the government’s plan that not all civil servants should be included in mandatory contributions.

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