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Social security extended to non-permanent residents

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The first level of the two-tiered social security scheme will be enacted from January 1 of next year and non-permanent residents aged 18 and above will be eligible for non-mandatory contributors, meaning that more people will be able to receive an aged pension when reaching the age of 65.
Yesterday, the Government gathered with the Legislative Assembly’s (AL) third standing committee to present and discuss the final draft of the first level of the two-tiered social security scheme, which features several important changes. According to the committee’s president Cheang Chi Keong, it is very likely that the draft law could be approved article-by-article before the AL’s holidays, on August 15.
The first Government-proposed law spelled out that the system would only cover permanent residents aged 22 and above. The initial proposal also established two schemes for contributions: a mandatory contributor and a non-mandatory.
Regarding the non-mandatory contributors, “the Government decided to open new doors” in the revised proposal, Cheang told reporters yesterday. Firstly, non-permanent residents aged over 18 will also be eligible contributors. Secondly, non-mandatory contributors would also be entitled to sickness allowance.
Civil servants who want to join the non-mandatory scheme have to pay the contributions by themselves. “It’s a fairer solution, because civil servants can also choose the mandatory scheme [contributions are paid together by employers and employees],” the lawmaker said.
In addition, the elderly, who had been previously ignored by the scheme, will enjoy less strict retroactive payment requirements. “Requirements will be less demanding,” Cheang said.
Previously, those who had never contributed to Social Security Fund (FSS) needed to stay in Macau for at least 183 days annually for the last two years to be entitled to apply. However, that was reduced to one year only.
Apart from that, the 30-year requirement for staying in Macau for contributors above 65 was also reduced to 15. “If during those 15 years, the applicant has not stayed in Macau for at least 183 days annually, that year would not be included in his pension formula,” he explained, adding that contributor will have to pay a maximum of MOP 8,100 to get a MOP 850 monthly pension.
Both born and wedding allowances won’t be removed.
Employers who failed to pay the worker’s FSS contributions could face a penalty of at least three years in prison. This measure was added to avoid such situations.
The new social security system will be in force from January 1 next year. New eligible applicants should submit an application within one year from the law’s enactment.

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