A universal pension scheme would be a form of hidden tax if employers and employees are made to contribute to an old-age social safety net, Hong Kong Economic Times reported Wednesday.
Requiring them to contribute to a pension fund for the elderly on top of their existing scheme is an added burden which amounts to an unnecessary levy, accordng to Shirley Yuen, chief executive of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.
Instead, the government should continue to fund the old-age scheme, she said.
Yuen was reacting to a report by Nelson Chow, a professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong, on proposed changes to the pension program.
Chow’s report studied six proposals from the public.
Three were in favor of universal pension, two recommended improving the Mandatory Pension Fund (MPF) scheme, savings and social protection programs, and one suggested yearly contributions to the MPF, rather than monthly.
Yuen said it is not necessary to include everyone in the pension scheme. Non-Hong Kong citizens should take a means test to determine their eligibility for social benefits, she said.
A universal pension scheme could put younger workers under increasing pressure as their elders retire and stop contributing to the fund.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions urged the government to act on the proposals as soon as possible, according to Now TV.
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