While incoming Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her new cabinet are all set to assume office on July 1, outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is racing against time to push his proposal to scrap the “offsetting mechanism” of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).
With less than a week left in his term of office, time is definitely running out for Leung to deliver on his long-overdue election promise.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Secretary for Labor and Welfare Stephen Sui Wai-keung have met with representatives of the labor and business sectors in the Labor Advisory Board as well as officials of the five leading chambers of commerce last Thursday find out their respective views on several modified proposals on the pension scheme put forward by the labor sector.
Among them is the option of extending the period of subsidization provided by the government for small businesses on their extra expenditures after the abolition of the offsetting mechanism proposed by former chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions Cheng Yiu-tong.
However, several business leaders who attended that meeting told the media afterwards that they were still unable to find common ground with the government on the issue.
They also stressed that there is absolutely by no ways the business sector would accept the existing proposal unless the government is willing to make substantial compromises, such as agreeing to abolish statutory long-service payments.
In a media conference on Friday, representatives from the business sector reiterated that they would not accept Leung’s proposal.
Labor representatives also rejected the proposal, noting that the reducing the calculation base for long service and severance payments is a step backward in protecting the workers’ benefits.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 23
Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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