By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Casual and part-time workers will be required to contribute to the Social Security Fund (FSS) for each of the labour relations arisen from their jobs.
President of the Third Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly, Cheang Chi Keong, said after yesterday’s meeting that one of the consensuses they’ve reached with the government representatives was regarding how locals who are having more than one employer should contribute to the FSS.
Some lawmakers proposed that casual and part-time workers could contribute to the social security system only for one of the labour relations they are engaged in, but Cheang said it would lead to “a lot of complicated issues” such as how to decide which particular labour relation should be selected.
Hence, the committee president said they agreed lastly that if such a worker is having three jobs, he or she is obliged to make social security contributions for each of them, and so do the employers.
If a job needs a worker to work 15 days or less in a month, both the employer and employee have to make half of the standard FSS contributions; and if the working days are over 15 days, they are required to contribute to the FSS in full.
At present, the contribution amounts of an employee and an employer are respectively 15 and 30 patacas monthly.
Cheang said the new proportion of contributions between employers and employees and also their contribution amounts will be formulated by the government, which will then be announced in a Chief Executive Dispatch in the Official Gazette.
The Chief Executive will determine the proportion based on the social condition and opinion from the Social Coordination Standing Committee in the future, Cheang said.
It is very likely the contribution amounts will be raised in order to ensure the long-term operation of the Fund, he said, but the increase will not be “too much” since the most important resource is from the government’s annual financial injection.
In addition, it has been agreed that employers will be required to register their eligible employees with the FSS within five days after the labour relations begin, whereas there is no restriction for non-mandatory contributors such as non-employee residents.
However, Cheang said the revised social security system must have to correspond with the Labour Law, which requires employees’ social security numbers be printed on their payslips every month, or otherwise a fine of 1,000 to 1,500 patacas could be applied to employers.
He said relevant provisions will be added into the bill so that an employer will not be fined for not showing a staff member’s social security number on the payslip before it is obtained from the FSS.
The Third Standing Committee will resume meetings after Easter. Cheang said the next meeting may see a debate concerning whether or not contributors should continue their contributions after the standard contribution period of 30 years.
The government-drafted bill says if a contributor is still engaged in a labour relation after 30 years, he or she will need to continue to contribute to the FSS.
Yet, Cheang said this scheme may encourage people, especially the self-employed, to choose to start the contributions only at 35 years old, so that they can apply for the age pensions once they reach 65 years old.
Moreover, Cheang said it is expected that the next meeting will see an answer from the government regarding whether or not it is willing to offer hospital subsidies for self-employed contributors under an optional contribution plan.