Optional social security contributions for self-employed

Friday, March 12, 2010
Issue 961, Page 3
Word count: 409
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The self-employed Macau residents who are currently obliged to register with the Social Security Fund (FSS) may have the chance to choose whether or not to continue their contributions under the new social security system.

At present, the self-employed individuals from 30 professions are required by law to become both contributors and beneficiaries of FSS, or otherwise they will be fined.

The 30 professions include funeral industry workers, tailors or jewellery makers, rickshaw owners and riders, construction workers, insurance agents, tour guides, Chinese medicine practitioners, dentists, therapists, masseurs, lawyers, engineers, architects, accountants and also auditors.

The Third Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly held the 8th meeting with the government representatives to discuss the bill to revise the social security system yesterday.

Standing committee president Cheang Chi Keong told reporters after the meeting although both the government and the legislature’s legal advisors favoured the introduction of a non-mandatory FSS contribution plan for the self-employed in the future, there was a contradiction regarding the rights and interests of those already in the current social security system.

The main difference, according to Cheang, is that under the mandatory contribution scheme nowadays, a self-employed individual can be entitled to an annual hospital subsidy amounting to maximum 12,600 patacas.

If the existing self-employed contributors choose to continue to contribute to FSS under the new system, they may lose the medical benefits as it was not yet clear whether this subsidy will be retained in the non-mandatory contribution plan.

Therefore, Cheang said the standing committee has proposed two options to the government representatives – FSS contributions will be made optional for the self-employed, and all the old and new contributors will be able to enjoy the same hospital subsidy; or the existing self-employed contributors remain in the mandatory plan whilst new applicants will be put into the optional plan.

Cheang said the second option might bring more negative impact, such as within one self-employed profession, individuals are contributing to FSS differently.

If a non-mandatory contribution plan has to be launched for the self-employed, Cheang said the government needs to first ensure that the rights and interests of those contributors in the existing scheme will not be jeopardised.

The government representatives will bring the standing committee’s suggestions back to the government, which is to decide if the hospital subsidy can be kept in the new contribution plan for the self-employed.

The next meeting will be held at 3.30pm on March 15 at the Legislative Assembly.

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