Money Matter

Article exclusively contributed by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority

Determine eligibility for HK$6,000 MPF injection

University student Juno Chan joined a six-month internship programme offered by a small company in December 2007, earning a monthly salary of HK$6,500.

Following the government's announcement that it would inject HK$6,000 into the MPF accounts of certain low-income workers, Mr Chan realised he might be eligible for the cash injection. His monthly income was below HK$10,000 for December 2007, January 2008 and February 2008, and he met the requirement of having had an MPF contribution account as at 29 February 2008.

However, Mr Chan only discovered last week that his former employer did not make any MPF contributions during his employment period, even though he was enrolled in an MPF scheme. He now needs to take swift action to notify the relevant authorities of this lapse.

Cash injection

Earlier this year, the government announced the elisibility criteria for members of MPF and MPF-exempted Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance (ORSO) and the Government Injection of Contributions (GIC) project, which provides for the injection of HK$6,000 into their accounts.

The MPFA is responsible for implementing the project and is empowered by legislation to require MPF or ORSO trustees or employers to provide information of their scheme members or employees in order for it to compile a list of eligible recipients.

The MPFA is currently working on the administrative processes related to the project. It has been reminding employees who were employed at any time between 1 March 2007 and 29 February 2008, but whose employers did not enrol them in an MPF or ORSO scheme, or failed to make contributions for them, to take action.

Such employees should make enquiries with their employers or report the non-enrolment or non-payment to the MPFA by 31 October 2008 so that the MPFA can check their income during the period concerned and determine their eligibility to receive the injection.

If employees fail to take action, they may find their eligibility for the cash injection affected.

Apart from enquiring about their enrolment and contribution status from MPF fund trustees, employees should also check the information on the monthly pay records provided by their employers.

Casual employees enrolled in Industry Schemes can check the information on the monthly contribution records provided by their trustees.

The MPFA will announce the injection schedule and detailed arrangements for the payments by the end of 2008 and plans to commence payments into accounts in the 2008/09 financial year.

Fund trustees will notify eligible scheme members after the money had been paid into their accounts.

Q & A on the HK$6,000 injection for eligible MPF members
Q1 Why does the MPFA need such a long run-up to implementing the injection into scheme members' accounts?
A1 Complicated administrative and legislative procedures must be completed before the GIC Project can be implemented. After the Legislative Council passed the relevant legislative amendments to effect the project in July 2008, the MPFA had to review the data of 2.35 million employees and self-employed people enrolled in MPF schemes, 440,000 ORSO scheme members, and 2.6 million preserved account holders and scheme members who left employment between 1 March 2007 and 29 February 2008. This covers more than five million accounts. The MPFA also needs to collect, verify and consolidate the relevant data for central matching in order to compile a list of eligible scheme members. An estimated 1.7 million scheme members will be eligible for the injection.

Q2 What should an employer do to facilitate the implementation of the project?
A2 Employers should follow their legal obligation to enrol eligible employees in MPF schemes. They should also send remittance statements to their trustees on time and make the correct amount of contributions each month, in order to facilitate the MPFA to get the correct information regarding employees' income for determining whether they are eligible for the injection.

Taken from Career Times 26 September 2008, p. A19

(Last review date: 23 August 2013)

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