Author Archives: Eddie Choy

CY Leung failed to get his MPF reform off the ground: it’s time to let someone else have a go

The outgoing chief executive has had five years to end a practice that allowed employers to take severance and long service pay out of employees’ pension, but has made no progress

Leung Chun-ying is a man in a hurry. With barely two more weeks in office, the outgoing chief executive is desperate to fulfil an election promise he made five years ago to overhaul a key compensation mechanism under the Mandatory Provident Fund pension scheme.

While it’s usually a good thing for political leaders to try to keep their promises, this is not the case here. Leung has come up with a half-baked proposal that even members of his own Executive Council can’t agree on, let alone opposing representatives from labour and the business sector.

His successor, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is fully acquainted with the issues. It would make more sense for her administration to work out the reform plan than trying to force through a compromised solution that will not satisfy anyone.

The so-called offsetting mechanism has long enabled bosses to make payments for long service and severance using contributions they have already paid into the pension funds of departing employees.

Under this mechanism, bosses offset HK$3.85 billion last year from the cost of pensions– up 70 per cent from HK$2.27 billion in 2012.

Leung has promised to phase out this practice, which many consider exploitative, over 10 years with a government subsidy of HK$7.9 billion to help employers meet such obligations.

Neither the labour nor business sectors were happy with what the government had proposed.

Under the latest government plan, bosses would still be allowed to offset long service payments while being barred from doing so for severance payments. Now, even Leung’s own cabinet can’t reach a consensus on the revised proposal.

But Leung has gone on the offensive by criticising alternatives put forward by labour and business representatives. He insists there is no time left and that his latest is the only workable plan.

Who is he kidding? The only one who has no time left is him.

And he has no one to blame but himself – and perhaps Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the former secretary for labour and welfare and currently the chief secretary.

They have had five years to work out an overhaul of the offsetting mechanism, yet allowed negotiations to drag on fruitlessly for two of those years. Then came the boycott of those negotiations by union leaders.

Precious time was wasted, and so here we are. Time’s up, CY. It’s too late in the day. Let Carrie Lam take care of it from here.

MPF個人賬戶管理新招

根據積金局資料,截至今年3月31日,全港共有257.2萬名僱員和20.2萬位自僱人士參加了MPF計劃。而個人賬戶的數目,就由2012年3月的403.5萬個,增至今年3月的537.9萬個,升幅足足有33%。但在同一時期,香港的勞動人口亦沒有相對的增長。究其原因,都是計劃成員沒有做好整合MPF個人賬戶

取消強積金對沖 政府破格處理

勞工及福利局局長蕭偉強表示,政府就取消強積金對沖安排下了很多工夫,經公眾諮詢和詳細分析後,並平衡各方面情況,在施政報告提出具體建議。

 

蕭偉強今日出席電台節目後會見傳媒,指當局為取消強積金對沖願意「破格」,在十年內撥出79億元,他希望勞資雙方也能互諒互讓,僱主多付一點,僱員也要作出讓步。

 

他重申,當局一直抱最高誠意和最大決心處理有關議題,會盡最大努力在本屆政府完結前敲定方案。

 

MPF對沖 唔洗一日即轉軚

政府早前提出取消強積金新方案,倡先取消遣散費對沖,長期服務金對沖容後處理,遣散費及長服金則仍舊以月薪三分二計,但新方案勞資兩面不討好。工聯會立法會議員陸頌雄前日就有關議題上,表明不能接受所有損害勞工界利益的法案,促政府一次過取消強積金對沖,「做番好梁振英當年嘅競選承諾」;又認為政府突然拋出新方案,很難凝聚共識。

事隔不足一日,陸頌雄昨晨在一個電台節目上表示,政府只是取消遣散費對沖並不足夠,新方案對取消長服金對沖未有清晰時間表,希望政府拿出更大誠意及魄力,清晰交代如何達至完全取消強積金對沖,並期望資方有承擔盡快達至共識。他又指,如果政府提出明確時間表,令下屆政府可以落實,勞工界願意商討。

他續指,看得出政府希望於餘下任期完成,但批評商界不停於議題上兜轉,不夠承擔,過去16年已經沖走僱員330多億元強積金,削弱原有的退休功能。

勞顧會資方代表郭振華則表示,新建議未能夠為僱主,特別是中小企,提供一個儲款的方案,而且長期服務金及遣散費對沖上有很多重覆問題出現,如果只取消一樣,預計日後勞資雙方仍有很多爭議。他認為,政府臨近屆滿,就越要頻密溝通,拉近意見。

Mercer Launches Hong Kong Mandatory Provident Fund Index

Consulting firm Mercer has launched a monthly index, the Mandatory Provident Fund Satisfaction Index, which will measure the satisfaction level of Hong Kong residents toward the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) system.

“We believe that the survey will provide useful insights on the MPF system and hopefully to improve understanding of satisfaction with the scheme,” said Billy Wong, Mercer’s wealth business leader for Hong Kong, China, and Korea.

The MPF is a compulsory pension fund for retirees in Hong Kong. In its inaugural survey for April, the index registered a 50.3 on a scale of a possible 100, with only 11% of respondents saying they were “satisfied” with the MPF system. Nearly 60% indicated they are “dissatisfied,” and only 31% deemed the system “fair.”

The survey found that younger employees seem to be less satisfied with the MPF system than their older counterparts. The average satisfaction index for respondents aged 55 or above was 66.4, compared with 47.3 for those aged 35 to 54, and 45.59 for those aged 20 to 34.

“To younger workers, retirement planning may seem like a distant matter which does not require immediate attention, while some may wish they had the funds to invest in other ventures,” said Wong. “The Mercer MPF SI offered us very interesting insights as to the different needs and sentiments towards MPF or retirement among employees in different life stages. These differences will be important for MPF providers and government bodies to keep in mind when devising retirement planning or MPF communications and education.”

The monthly survey was conducted among Hong Kong workers aged 20 to 65 on Mercer’s behalf by market research firm Nielsen. The survey examined knowledge, understanding, and satisfaction with the MPF system, as well as with current MPF-related developments.

The survey results also showed a lack of confidence among employees that the MPF will meet their retirement needs. Although 43% of respondents had average expectations when asked if the MPF would cover their post-retirement expenses, 36.8% had “low” or “very low” expectations, while only 21.2% had high expectations.

The survey also found a positive correlation between how knowledgeable a respondent is of the MPF system and their satisfaction with it. The average satisfaction index for those who deemed themselves “not knowledgeable” about the MPF system was 42.1, compared to 47.5 for those who considered themselves as having “average” knowledge, and 52.8 for those who considered themselves “knowledgeable.”

“Depending on individual needs and goals, it is good practice for employees to review their MPF portfolios at least once a year,” said Wong. “It is important for all stakeholders, including the government, MPF providers, and employers to work together to fill this knowledge gap.”

傳行會今加開會議 商取消MPF對沖 或本周公布方案

  • 取消強積金對沖方案未有定案,今日《星島日報》報道指,特首梁振英為趕及任期內作決定,要求行政會議今天召開特別會議討論,冀在日內公布決定。

  • 報道中提到,政府在周二的行政會議曾提出3個不同方案,包括先取消遣散費對沖,暫時保留長期服務金對沖及按月薪三分之二計算遣散費長服金的方法,亦有建議政府斥資62億至79億元補貼僱主10年以上的遣散費或長服金等。《星島》亦引述消息人士指,因時間倉促,難以決定新方案,並估計原定的「劃線」方案會獲通過。

    報道續指,政府已分別向勞顧會勞資委員拋出新方案建議,要求雙方在一、兩日內回覆,又在今日下午加開行會,冀能在本周內公布方向建議。政府雖提出多個方案,惟沒有交代取消長期服務金對沖的時間表及路線圖。報道又引述勞方委員指,不滿意政府的「劃線」方案,商界則希望本周五召開5大商會代表會議,研究新方案及分析僱主開支。

政府就強積金對沖拋出新建議先取消對沖遣散費

政府正爭取在今屆任期內,就取消強積金對沖定出方向。消息指,政府拋出新建議,以分階段形式進行,先以劃線形式取消遣散費對沖部分,並將計算遣散費的比例維持在月薪的三分二,但同時保留長期服務金對沖,隔一段時間才再處理,行政會議預料今日會再討論強積金對沖機制。

消息指,勞工處已向勞顧會委員交代最新建議,希望委員盡快回應。有勞顧會勞方委員指,政府新建議回應勞工界訴求,但認為未有交代處理長服金時間表,希望政府能公開交代取消長服金具體時間表,否則不會考慮方案。有資方委員指,短期內會再與商會討論建議,強調會研究各種可行方式。

細心打理積金農地,享受退休大豐收

《積金人語》近年,越來越多城市人投入綠色生活,有人甚至到鄉郊租一塊耕地,一嘗當
「假日農夫」的滋味。筆者曾跟朋友說笑,其實香港大部分打工作僱員也有一塊「積金農地」,
為我們未來退休造好「積穀防飢」的準備,可惜很多成員往往忽略其重要性,以至田園荒廢,影
響退休生活也不自知。
一般而言,強積金成員由踏出社會工作的一刻起,就要開始打理自己的「積金農地」,直至
65歲退休。市場上各個強積金受託人就如不同的農地供應商,為成員提供多款強積金計劃,內
有投資於不同資產和地區的基金,包括股票基金、債券基金、混合資產基金、保守基金及保證基
金等。我們可以視這些基金為農作物的種子,現時市場上共400多成分基金可供選擇,讓成員
自由拼湊組合。

*基金種出不同回報*

每隻基金的回報及風險特質均不盡相同,就如植物也有不同的生長周期、產量和抗逆能力,
以股票基金為例,可以在短期內迅速生長,潛在產量較豐富,卻相對較易受到環境影響,容易在
市況逆轉時受挫,唯仍然是爭取較佳長線回報的工具。至於債券基金好比一些生長速度相對平穩
的農作物,產量或不比股票基金,但好處是比較穩健。
在多達數百隻成分基金中,成員需根據自己的投資喜好、風險承受能力以及退休期望作出選
擇,一般來說,年輕的成員因為距離退休的年期較長,他們的承險能力會較高,因此可以配置較
多於高風險的資產如股票基金;相反,接近退休的強積金成員一般不能承受太高風險,所以可以
增加平穩資產如債券和現金的比較。
制定好農作物組合後,成員就要為退休而努力耕耘。當然,大部分成員都不是專業農夫,因
此「積金農地」平日會交由專業的基金經理耕種。雖則有專人負責,然而「假日農夫」也不可對
農地不聞不問,要定期視察植物成長進度,看看專業農夫的表現是否稱職,積金成員也該如此,
主動地管理帳戶和檢討基金成績,並透過強積金受託人發放的基金季刊,了解基金經理的投資策
略及市況分析。

*人生有四季順勢調整組合*

農夫會因應四時氣候和市場需求,轉變產物組合,栽種當造和應市的蔬果,這樣才能發揮農
地的大價值,以達至豐收目標。我們管理強積金也是一樣,不可以只默默耕耘至退休,我們的人
生也如一年四季,會經歷不同的階段,例如轉工、升職、加薪、結婚和組織家庭等。這些人生大
事都會影響我們的退休目標和風險承受能力,因此積金組合也要順應不同人生階段作出調整,才
能結出豐盛的果實,安心享受收成。

卸任前找數取消強積金對沖?梁特:與勞資雙方不斷商討

取消強積金對沖是特首梁振英當年的參選政綱之一,但距離他任期僅剩不足3星期,至今仍未有措施公佈。梁振英今日出席行會會議前,被問到能否如期找數,他稱與勞資雙方在過去數星期不斷商討,全在任期完成前盡最大努力完成這方面工作,但就無正面交代會否有措施公佈。

梁振英稱,強積金對沖問題在今年的施政報告已作出詳細交代,但指問題相當複雜及積壓了很長時間,但他會在任期結束前,盡最大努力完成這方面工作,又強調現屆政府在7.1任期結束前的所有重大政策舉措,都會與候任首林鄭月娥保持緊密溝通。

卸任前找數取消強積金對沖?梁特:與勞資雙方不斷商討

取消強積金對沖是特首梁振英當年的參選政綱之一,但距離他任期僅剩不足3星期,至今仍未有措施公佈。梁振英今日出席行會會議前,被問到能否如期找數,他稱與勞資雙方在過去數星期不斷商討,全在任期完成前盡最大努力完成這方面工作,但就無正面交代會否有措施公佈。

梁振英稱,強積金對沖問題在今年的施政報告已作出詳細交代,但指問題相當複雜及積壓了很長時間,但他會在任期結束前,盡最大努力完成這方面工作,又強調現屆政府在7.1任期結束前的所有重大政策舉措,都會與候任首林鄭月娥保持緊密溝通。