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Industry Scheme Members


If you have been working in the construction industry or the catering industry for some time, chances are that you have changed jobs quite a number of times already. The fact is, labour mobility in these two industries is generally high. Workers are often employed on a short-term basis and wages are usually daily-rated and paid half-monthly, weekly or even daily. The characteristics of these two industries add to the administrative burden of participants of Master Trust Schemes. Industry Schemes are therefore set up and specially designed for the construction and catering industries to make MPF arrangements as convenient as possible for both employers and employees.

Casual Employee

If you are employed in the construction industry or the catering industry on a day-to-day basis, or for a fixed period of less than 60 days, then you are a “casual employee”. It doesn’t matter for how short a period you are to be employed; as long as you are employed as a casual employee, even for just one day, your employers in the catering or construction industries are still required to make MPF contributions for you.

As a casual employee under the Industry Schemes, you do not have to switch schemes when you change jobs within these two industries, so long as your previous and new employers have registered with the same Industry Scheme. For example, if you are a construction worker who works for several sub-contractors at different building sites during a month, you will not have to change schemes as long as all the sub-contractors are registered with the same Industry Scheme. You don’t have to enrol in the same MPF scheme over and over again. This is convenient to you and saves the administrative costs of transferring accrued benefits from one scheme to another.

Opening Industry Scheme Accounts

If you are a casual employee, you are advised to open casual employee accounts with each of the two Industry Scheme trustees in advance. The two trustees will each provide you with a  “casual employee card”. The advantage of having a “casual employee card” is that when your new employer has also joined the same Industry Scheme as you, you will not need to fill in an MPF enrolment form in the workplace. Simply show your employer your “casual employee card”, or provide them with the account number/casual employee number printed on your card, your employer will be able to make contributions for you.  Besides, different employers can make contributions to your accounts.  Keep your “casual employee cards” in your wallet as they will surely come in handy.

There are currently two approved MPF trustees that operate Industry Schemes: Bank Consortium Trust Company Limited (Hotline: 2298 9333), and Bank of East Asia (Trustees) Limited (Hotline: 2211 1777). To open an account, you just need to contact the two trustees directly and fill in an application form. Their contact information and details about the procedures for opening casual employee accounts can be found here.

Industry Scheme Accounts With Incomplete Information

Some casual employees do not open casual employee accounts with each of the two Industry Scheme trustees in advance.  Their employers also have not properly enrolled them into Industry Scheme even though their employers have made MPF contributions for them.  The information relating to these accounts are incomplete as the trustees are only provided with the names and Hong Kong Identity Card numbers of the account holders.  The trustees do not have any further information, including their contact information in respect of these account holders (referred to as “accounts with incomplete information” below).
 
The MPF benefits may be left idle indefinitely as the casual employees may not be aware of holding any accounts with incomplete information and would not reclaim their MPF benefits. Furthermore, the trustees are unable to contact these account holders to provide them with related MPF documents and information.
 
If you want to know whether you have any accounts with incomplete information, please contact the trustees immediately: Bank Consortium Trust Company Limited (Hotline: 2298 9333) and Bank of East Asia (Trustees) Limited (Hotline: 2211 1777).
 
Moreover, if you find that you have not yet got the “casual employee card” with each of the two trustees, please contact the trustees now to open casual employee accounts as mentioned above.

Calculation of Contributions

Casual employees in the construction and catering industries are usually daily-rated. For instance, if a casual employee earns $1,000 per day, his total income for three working days is $3,000 ($1,000 x 3 days).

The length of casual employees’ contribution period (generally the wage period) may also be different. For instance, employees employed on a day-to-day basis are usually paid every day after work. Accordingly, their contribution period is one day. However, there are also cases where employees are paid less frequently, such as weekly or twice a month (once in the first half and again in the second half of the month).

In view of these differing income calculation and wage periods for casual employees, the contribution calculation method under Industry Schemes has been simplified and the contribution scales unified with effect from 1 November 2013. This has streamlined employers' calculation of contributions, and made it easier for your employees to understand how much should be deducted from their income for their part of contributions.


Under Industry Schemes

If you are a causal employee and have joined an Industry Scheme, you should be aware that the calculation of contributions for you is different from that for regular employees. Under the new calculation method, you and your employer can simply refer to the contribution scale below and make fixed sum contributions according to your daily income, regardless of the length of your contribution period.  The contribution amounts are multiples of $5, making them simple and easy to remember.

Daily Relevant Income Amount of mandatory contributions
Employer's contributions Employee's contributions
Less than $280 $10 Not required
$280 to less than $350 $15 $15
$350 to less than $450 $20 $20
$450 to less than $550 $25 $25
$550 to less than $650 $30 $30
$650 to less than $750 $35 $35
$750 to less than $850 $40 $40
$850 to less than $950 $45 $45
$950 or more* $50 $50

* This income band contains the daily maximum relevant income level (i.e. $1,000) and the maximum amount of contribution (i.e. $50). If the daily relevant income of a casual employee exceeds $1,000, the amount of contribution payable by both the employee and his employer will remains at $50 each per day.

Your employer simply checks your daily income for each working day in the week against the new contribution scale, and then adds up the contribution amount payable for each working day to arrive at the total contribution amount payable for that wage period. To better understand the contribution calculation method, please refer to the following illustrative example:
 
Mr Chan, a casual employee in the construction industry who has joined an Industry Scheme, is now being employed by a contractor at a construction site. His daily income is $1,200, or $600 per half day. His wage period is one week, meaning that he is paid on a weekly basis.
 
In one particular week, he and his employer are required to make MPF contributions as follows:

Working day Daily relevant income Applicable income band
under new contribution scale
Employer’s contributions Employee’s contributions
Monday $1,200 $950 or more $50 $50
Tuesday $1,200 $950 or more $50 $50
Wednesday
(No work) - Not required Not required
Thursday $1,200 $950 or more $50 $50
Friday $1,200 $950 or more $50 $50
Saturday $600
(half-day work)
$550 to less than $650 $30 $30
Sunday (No work) - Not required Not required
  Total Contribution payable:   $230 $230

Under the new contribution calculation method, Mr Chan’s employer can simply check his daily income for each day in the week against the new contribution scale, and then add up the contribution amount payable for each day to arrive at the total contribution amount payable for that wage period.

The new contribution calculation method and the unified contribution scale, effective from 1 November 2013, have been established on the basis that casual employees in the construction and catering industries are usually daily-rated. For a casual employee who is not daily-rated but is employed, for example, on a fixed weekly or monthly rate, calculate his/her average daily relevant income, then check it against the corresponding income band under the new contribution scale to determine the applicable daily contribution amount, and finally calculate the total contributions payable for the week or month. The methods for calculating average daily relevant income, daily contribution amount and total contribution amount are as below:

Average daily
relevant income =
Relevant income earned in a wage period
No. of working days in the wage period
 
Daily contribution
amount =
Check average daily relevant income against new contribution scale for contribution amount
 
Total contribution
amount =
[Daily contribution amount] x [No. of working days in the wage period]


Example:
 
Ms Li normally works five days a week, and has a weekly income of $5,000. In a particular month, Ms Li worked five days in the first week, and two days in the second week. She thus earned only $2,000 in the second week. The contributions payable by Ms Li and her employer in respect of the two weeks are calculated as follows:

  First week Second Week
Weekly income $5,000 $2,000
Number of working days 5 2
Average daily relevant income
$1,000 ($5,000÷5 working days) $1,000 ($2,000÷2 working  days)
Daily contribution amount $50 (income falls in income band “$950 or more” under the new contribution scale) $50 (income falls in income band  “$950 or more” under the new contribution scale)
Employee’s contribution $250 ($50×5 working days) $100 ($50×2 working days)
Employer’s contribution $250 ($50×5 working days) $100 ($50×2 working days)
Total contribution amount $500 $200

Under Master Trust Schemes

If your employer chooses to enrol you (a casual employee) in a Master Trust Scheme instead of an Industry Scheme, the method for calculating contributions is entirely different.

If your contribution periods (wages periods) is more frequent than monthly, such as weekly or half-monthly, your employer should first determine the minimum and maximum relevant income levels by multiplying the number of calendar days in the contribution period concerned by the daily minimum and maximum relevant income levels of $280 and $1,000.

For example, if your contribution period is half-monthly, i.e. your employer pays you wages twice a month, the minimum relevant income level for the second half of March will be $280 x 16 calendar days = $4,480, and the maximum relevant income level will be $1,000 x 16 calendar days = $16,000.

Once your employer has calculated the minimum and maximum relevant income levels for a particular contribution period, he/she may then compare them with your actual relevant income earned during that contribution period and make contributions based on the following table:

Relevant income Mandatory contribution amount
Employer’s contributions Employee’s contributions
Less than
$280 x No. of calendar days in the contribution period concerned
Total relevant income in the contribution period concerned x 5% Not required
Between the minimum and maximum relevant income levels for the contribution period concerned Total relevant income in the contribution period concerned x 5% Total relevant income in the contribution period concerned x 5%
More than
$1,000 x No. of calendar days in the contribution period concerned
$1,000 x No. of calendar days in the contribution period concerned x 5% $1,000 x No. of calendar days in the contribution period concerned x 5%

For example, if you have worked 12 days in the second half of March with a daily income of $1,000, your total relevant income is: $1,000 x 12 days = $12,000. Since $12,000 falls between $4,480 and $16,000 (minimum and maximum relevant income levels for second half of March respectively), both employer’s and employee’s contributions should be $12,000 x 5% = $600.

Calculation of Contributions for Regular Employees

Some employees in the construction and catering industries are employed for a fixed period of 60 days or more (“regular employees”). Employers who choose to enrol their regular employees in an Industry Scheme should note that the contribution calculation method for regular employees is different from that for casual employees. The amount of mandatory contributions for regular employees is calculated based on 5% of their relevant income in respect of the contribution period concerned (the same as the contribution calculation method under Master Trust Schemes), subject to the minimum and maximum relevant income levels, i.e. $7,100 and $30,000 per month respectively. Details are as follows:

Monthly relevant income Mandatory contribution amount
Employer’s contributions Employee’s contributions
Less than $7,100 Relevant income x 5% Not required
$7,100 - $30,000 Relevant income x 5% Relevant income x 5%
More than $30,000 $1,500 $1,500

Illustrative example:
Mr Cheung is a regular employee in the construction industry. His daily income is $1,000, or $500 per half day. His contribution period is one month, meaning that he is paid once a month. Mr Cheung worked for 23.5 days in a particular month and his total income for that month was $23,500.
 
The table above shows that $23,500 falls in the income band “$7,100 to $30,000”. Therefore, Mr Cheung and his employer are each required to make MPF contributions of $1,175 ($23,500 x 5%).

Deadline for making contributions

It is your employers’ responsibility to deduct contribution from your relevant income and remit it, together with their own contributions, to the MPF trustee. Employers can choose to

(1) pay the MPF contribution on the next working day following the pay-day; or
(2) pay the contribution within 10 days after the wage period ends.

Your Industry Schemes trustees will send you monthly benefit statements setting out the contribution information of all your employers in that month. To protect your interests, you should check and ensure that your employers pay contributions on time. You can also enquire directly with the trustees.

Common Misconceptions

By now, we trust that you should have grasped the basics about Industry Schemes and your rights as a casual employee. Before you go, we would like to dispel some of the misconceptions commonly held by employers and employees in the construction and catering industries.

Misconception 1: Employers who participate only in Master Trust Schemes are not required to make contributions for casual employees whose employment period is less than 60 days.

The kind of MPF scheme that an employer participates in is never a factor for determining whether or not his employees are covered by the MPF System. It is true that employers must enrol all full-time / part-time employees who are aged 18 but under 65 years of age and employed for a period of 60 days or more in an MPF scheme and make contributions for them. However, this 60-day employment rule is not applicable to casual employees in the construction and catering industries. Employers in the construction and catering industries, regardless of whether they participate in Industry Schemes or Master Trust Schemes, must enrol their casual employees in an MPF scheme and make contributions for them.

Misconception 2: Casual employees in the construction and catering industries must set up their own accounts under the Industry Schemes in order to allow their employers to make contributions.

It is stated in the law that employers are obliged to enrol employees in MPF schemes and make contributions for them. If an employee does not have an account under the Industry Scheme that the employer is participating in, the employer is obliged to enrol the employee in that scheme and make contributions for him. Don’t fall for, “Sorry, if you don’t have an Industry Scheme account, we are unable to make contributions for you.”

Misconception 3: All employers and employees in the construction industry and the catering industry are required to participate in the Industry Schemes.

Although Industry Schemes are specially designed for the construction and catering industries, the law does not require all employers in these two industries to join the Industry Schemes. They may opt for Master Trust Schemes that are designed for all trades and industries. In this case, even if you are a casual employee, your employer is still required to make contributions for you under the Master Trust Scheme they have chosen.

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