強積金供款入息的下限過低

最低工資法例將於5月1日實施,但港府遲至今年2月才建議把強積金供款入息下限上調至5,500元,導致落實最低工資後,領最低工資的勞工要供款一段時間。港府在今年2月向立法會財經事務委員會提交文件,建議把強積金供款入息的下限由現在的5,000元,上調至5,500元。然而,5月1日落實最低工資後,低收入工人的月薪是5,824元,這等於變相令全民供款。  最低工資法例去年7月通過,到今年5月1日實施,差不多有一年時間給政府做調整,但仍然有不少政策未能配合,其中一樣就是強積金。港府遲至今年2月才建議把強積金供款入息下限上調至5,500元,但由於有關法例未能在5月1日前立法,導致落實最低工資後,領最低工資的勞工要供款一段時間,才能獲豁免供款。  在目前通脹上升的趨勢下,要領最低工資的勞工每月供款,是變相減少了他們現在能夠支配的實際收入,有違最低工資的原意。雖然低收入勞工每月供款,將來這些錢仍是屬於他們,但問題是他們現在的收入應是保障現實的最低生活水平,而非為未來進行儲蓄。  強積金供款入息的下限過低,導致領最低工資的基層勞工都要供款;但下限過高,獲豁免供款的人太多,強積金會變成形同虛設。因此,有議員叫價高至7,280元,是不切實際的。面對香港人口老化問題日益嚴重,當局應要求和鼓勵有能力供款的市民,盡量參與強積金供款。 The minimum threshold for MPF contributions should be further raised  The government submitted a paper to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council this February proposing an upward adjustment of the minimum threshold for contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). The suggestion was to raise the threshold from the existing HK$5,000 to HK$5,500. However, after the enforcement of minimum wage on 1 May, the monthly pay received by low income earners will be HK$5,824, so in effect all employees will be required to contribute to MPF.  The Minimum Wage Ordinance was passed in July last year and it will be in force on 1 May this year. The government has had nearly one whole year to make necessary adjustments, but to date there are still quite some policies that are not in line with the minimum wage ordinance and the MPF is one of them. The government made the proposal of raising the minimum threshold to HK$5,500 as late as February this year, and it is not possible for related legislation to be made before 1 May. Therefore, after the enforcement of the minimum wage ordinance, employees receiving the minimum wage will have to contribute to the MPF for a certain period of time before they can be exempted.  With the trend of rising inflation, a monthly contribution to the MPF is in effect reducing the real disposable income of workers earning a minimum wage. This contradicts the original aim of setting a minimum wage. Although the monthly contributions made by these low income earners will ultimately be money that remains to be their property in the future, the problem is that the income they earn now should be used to safeguard their minimum living standard at the present time and not to be appropriated as savings for the future.  If the minimum threshold for contributions to the MPF is too low, minimum wage earners from the grassroots will also have to make contributions. If, however, the threshold is set too high, too many people will be exempted from making contributions and the MPF scheme will be rendered immaterial. The demand made by some legislators of setting the threshold at a height of HK$7,280 is not realistic. In view of the worsening aging problem in Hong Kong, the authorities should ask and encourage people who have the abilities to participate in and make contributions to the MPF scheme as much as they can. ■Translation by 開明 [email protected]