Pension Schemes for Private Sector Workers in Selected Countries in Asia An Overview

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1 Pension Schemes for Private Sector Workers in Selected Countries in Asia An Overview The major demographic, economic and social changes that are taking place in both the developed and developing countries underline the importance of pension schemes to economic stability and the security of the growing elderly population. The existing pension schemes benefit workers in the state sector who form a small proportion of the population eligible for an old age pension. In view of the intense debate and the divergent viewpoints expressed in Sri Lanka in the recent past, it would be useful to provide an overview of the various pension schemes for private sector workers in selected countries in Asia. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25: Everyone has the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. 1- India A non-contributory, unfunded, defined benefit pension and survivor benefits are granted to employees of the Central and State governments in India. In addition to the civil servants pension scheme, government employees are also entitled to a contributory General Provident Fund. The New Pension Scheme (NPS) was launched by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in May 2009 for all citizens in the age group 18 to 55. The NPS is a voluntary, defined contributory pension scheme. Workers in the formal private sector in India are eligible for two benefit streams- a lump sum Employees Provident Fund (EPF) upon retirement and a Pension from the Employees Pension Scheme Salient Features Name of Scheme: Employees Pension Scheme (EPS) (a) Type of Scheme: Defined Benefit Scheme* 1

2 (b) Date of Establishment: 1995 (c) Coverage: The scheme includes all workers covered under the EPF and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of (d) Contribution: 8.33% of the employer s contribution of 12% to the EPF is diverted to the EPS. The central government s contribution to the scheme amounts to 1.16% of the basic salary. (e) Pension Benefit: The amount is based on employer s average salary during the final years of employment and the total number of years employed. The EPS ensures a pension for life, in addition to disability, widow/widower pension and children s pension upon the member s death. (f) Vesting Period**: Minimum 10 years eligible service. (g) Voluntary or Mandatory: At its introduction in 1995, participation in the scheme was voluntary for existing workers. However, it is mandatory for new workers whose monthly pensionable earnings do not exceed Rs. 5000/=. To be entitled to the pension, members must be at least 58 years of age. However, a member could obtain an early pension (from 50 years), if he has completed 20 years of service. The amount of the pension benefit is reduced by 3 % for every year falling short of 58. The rate of reduction was increased to 4% per annum w.e.f. September The EPS is administered by the Employees Pension Fund Organization (EPFO) and guaranteed by the Government of India. Sources: (1) (2) (3) 2 - Singapore The mandatory Central Provident Fund (CPF) was set up by the colonial administration to provide retirement income security for private sector employees. Since its establishment in 1955, it has developed into a Fund consisting of a variety of schemes including CPF Life, Private Medical Insurance Scheme, Public Housing Scheme and Education Scheme. The CPF- a mandatory savings scheme- is the main instrument of social security in Singapore. 2

3 The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a component of the government s multipronged strategy to address the financial requirements of retirees. The scheme was introduced to encourage workers to save for their retirement to augment their CPF savings. Salient Features Name of Scheme: Supplementary Retirement Scheme (a) Type of Scheme: Private pension scheme operated by the private sector (b) Date of Establishment: 2001 (c) Coverage: Covers all regular, full-time, permanent employees up to 65 years. All Singaporeans, Singaporean permanent residents and foreigners who earn any form of income e.g. employment income, trade income, rental income) (d) Contribution: Contribution by employees only. There is no employer involvement in the scheme. Members are permitted to decide on the amount of the contribution, subject to the SRS contribution ceiling. The maximum yearly SRS contribution effective January 1, 2011 for a Singaporean and a foreigner stands at Singapore $ 12,750 and Singapore $ 29,751 respectively. (e) Benefits: Attractive tax benefits are offered to members of the scheme. Investment gains accumulated in SRS are tax free. Only 50% of withdrawals from the SRS are taxable at retirement. Contributions in the scheme can be utilized to purchase a variety of investments. (f) Withdrawals: Withdrawals could be spread over a 10 year period. If it is prior to retirement age (statutory retirement age in Singapore is 62 years), 100% of the amount withdrawn is taxed. (g) Voluntary or Mandatory: The SRS is a voluntary private pension scheme with employee participation only. Source:www.app.mof.gov.sg 3

4 3 Pakistan In Pakistan, government pension schemes provide coverage to public sector employees, workers in statutory bodies and members of the armed forces. The Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) provides pensions to the formal private sector. A retirement pension is therefore limited to formal sector employees, with the unorganized sector outside the purview of the above-mentioned pension schemes. Salient Features (a) Type of Scheme: Compulsory social insurance (b) Date of Establishment: under the Employees Old-Age Benefits Act, 1976 (c) Coverage: Applicable to all firms (industrial, or commercial including banks) where 5 or more workers are employed or were employed during the past 12 months. The law remains applicable even if the number employed subsequently decreases to less than 5. (d) Contribution: Employer s contribution is 5% of minimum wage and employee s contribution is 1% of minimum wage. Government contributed an equivalent 5% matching grant until July 1995, withdrawn thereafter. (e) Benefits: Old-Age pension (on retirement) Males: 60 years; Females: 55 years Survivor s pension (on death of insured) Disability pension ( in case of permanent disability) Old age grant ( member has attained superannuation age but has not completed the stipulated minimum year s of eligible service.) If insured employee retires 5 years prior to retirement age, he/she will be entitled to a reduced old-age pension. Pension will be reduced by 0.5% on monthly basis or 6% on yearly basis. Early pension could be paid to male retirees from and female retirees from Disability pension in the event of an employment injury and the employee suffers a loss of earning capacity of at least 67%. Old age grant- Paid to employees who are not eligible for old-age pension(less than 15 years of contribution). However, if such employees have completed at least 2 years of insurable employment, they are entitled to a lump sum payment equivalent to one month of earnings for each year of insured employment. Old-Age, Disability and Survivors Pensions are calculated according to a formula 4

5 viz. 2% of the average monthly earnings in the last year multiplied by the total number of years of insurable employment. Pension Rates: Minimum- Rs. 3000/= Maximum- As per Formula. Pensions were increased by 15% w.e.f. July 1, (f) Vesting Period: 15 years The Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution manages the implementation and enforcement of the Act. It is a semi-autonomous institution under the Ministry of Labour and Manpower. Source: Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, Ministry of Labour and Manpower 4 Malaysia Public sector employees and the armed forces are provided pension benefits, with the Pension Trust Fund and the Armed Forces Fund being the major Funds providing retirement benefits to public sector employees. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF), based on the EPF Act, 1991 is the national compulsory saving scheme for private sector employees in Malaysia. The EPF is a fully funded Defined Benefit scheme with employer-employee contribution being 12%:11%, making up a total contribution of 23%. The self-employed and workers in the informal sector are not covered by the EPF. The Malaysian government which has taken a policy decision to introduce a private pension scheme to supplement the EPF, will launch a Private Pension Fund ( including the self-employed) in late Employers will be permitted tax deductions for contributions for the Private Pension Fund. Source: 5 Philippines 5

6 The two social security systems in force in the Philippines are the following: (a) Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and (b) Social Security System (SSS). The GSIS, established under the Commonwealth Act, No. 186 in 1936 covers those employed by all levels of government and state enterprises. The GSIS administers a Pension Fund that extends benefits viz. optional life insurance, retirement benefits and disability and death benefits to its members. All private sector employees, irrespective of their employment status, position or designation are entitled to retirement benefits. The SSS is a government entity entrusted with the management of the contributions made by private establishments under the social security programme. Salient Features Name of Scheme: Social Security System (a) Type of Scheme: Defined Benefit System (b) Date of Establishment: 1957 following the enactment of the Republic Act No.1161 or Social Security Law of (c) Coverage: Coverage under the scheme is compulsory for all private sector employees who are not over 60 years regardless of employment status. The following categories of workers are included under the compulsory coverage category: Employees -An employee in the private sector whether permanent, temporary or provisional who is not over 60 years of age. -A household helper earning at least pesos 1,000 per month (w.e.f. September 1, 1993). -The parent, spouse or child below 21 years of the owner of a single proprietorship business. Self-Employed 6

7 The following groups of self-employed persons, with an income of at least pesos 1,000 per month and not over 60 years are included in the scheme: - Self-employed professionals. - Business partners, single proprietors and board directors. - Actors, actresses, directors, script writers and news reporters who are not under an employee-employer relationship. - Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and jockeys. - Farmers and fisher folk and - Workers in the informal sector. Voluntary Coverage - Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) - Insured persons who are no longer eligible for compulsory coverage - Non-working spouses of SSS members. (d) Contribution: Contribution rate equivalent to 10.4 % of workers Monthly Salary Credit (MSC), effective January 1, employer (7.07%) and employee (3.33%.) The rate is applied to 29 MSC brackets, ranging from a minimum of pesos P 1,000 to pesos 15,000. Overseas Filipino Workers- a minimum MSC of pesos of 5,000 is imposed. (e) Benefits: - Old Age Pension - A lifetime pension is paid monthly to persons over 60 years whose insured period is more than or equal to 10 years. The pension is suspended if old-age pensioner becomes gainfully employed or resumes self-employment. This condition does not apply to pensioners over 65. The lump sum refund is payable to persons who reach 60 years with contributions of less than 10 years. The lump sum amount is based on the total contribution plus the legally fixed interest. -Disability Pension Paid to persons with a permanent or partial disability and have at least 36 months of contribution. 7

8 -Survivor Pension-Upon the death of the pensioner eligible survivors receive 100% of the Basic Monthly Pay including dependents pension. Eligible survivors are the surviving spouse and up to 5 dependent children under 21 years. (f) Vesting Period: 10 years The monthly pension depends on the following: - The member s paid contribution - Credited years of service (CYS) - Number of dependent minor children, not exceeding five. The Social Security Commission is responsible for the general management, supervision and regulation of the program. Source:www.sss.gov.ph 6 Vietnam The state pension scheme, a component of the social insurance system, is administered solely by the government. It is a scheme that is compulsory in both the state and non-state sector, with the exception of small businesses. A fixed percentage of the worker s salary is paid to the Social Insurance Agency (SIA) the government agency that administers the social insurance scheme- on a monthly basis. Upon retirement (60 for men and 55 for women) workers are eligible to receive the accumulated contribution in either a lump sum or opt to receive a pension for life. Old age pension is for those with at least 20 years of contribution. Monthly old-age pension is calculated at 45% of the average wage on which the social insurance contribution was based. Survivor Pension- 50% of the monthly minimum wage is paid for each eligible dependent survivor. However, this is increased to 70% if the eligible survivor has no other means of support. Source: 8

9 7 South Korea Prior to the establishment of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) in 1988, pension coverage was restricted to the following categories of employees: - Government employees - Military personnel - Private school teachers - Specially designated post office employees Private sector employees were eligible for superannuation benefits. Since 1988 however, under the state-run NPS, private sector employees are eligible for a monthly pension the details of which are given below: Salient Features Name of Scheme: National Pension Scheme (a) Type of Scheme: Partially- funded, Defined Benefit Scheme financed mainly on the pay-as-you-go basis.***. (b) Date of Establishment: Established in 1988 under the National Pension Act, (c) Coverage: All residents of South Korea (18 to less than 60 years). Foreigners residing and working in South Korea - except special cases - are covered under the scheme. The following categories of employees who are covered under their own pension plans are excluded from the scheme: - Government employees - Military personnel - Private school teachers - Employees of specially designated post offices (d) Contribution: Employer-employee contribution is 4.5% each of the standard monthly income. Those under the NPS can be categorized under the Mandatory and Voluntary Coverage scheme. Mandatory: All employees in the age group 18 to 59 in firms with one or more employees. Voluntary: - Non-income earning spouse of those covered under public pension schemes or a public pensioner. - Non-income earner less than 27 years who has not paid any pension contribution. - Retired government employee entitled to Government Employees Pension. 9

10 1 Persons protected under the National Basic Living Security Act. (e) Benefits: Old-Age Pension is classified into full, reduced, active, early and special old-age pension depending on the age of first benefit payment, insured period and participation in economic activities. A full old-age pension is paid to a person reaching 60 years with an insured period of 20 years or more. A reduced old-age pension is paid to a person reaching 60 years with an insured period from 10 to less than 20 years. The lump sum refund is payable to a person who reaches 60 years with contributions of less than 10 years. The lump sum amount is based on the contribution plus the legally fixed interest. Disability Pension- Paid to those injured during the insured period according to the degree of disability. Survivor Pension- Paid to surviving dependants namely, spouse, children aged less than 18 or parents having a disability of the 2 nd or 1 st degree. Benefit Formula: Old-Age Pension is composed of two factors- (1) Amount based on the contribution paid. (Basic Pension Amount-BPA) (2) Dependent s Pension Amount (DPA). BPA- The factors determining the amount of the BPA are the insured period, the average income of all the insured persons and insured person s average income during the insured period. DPA- This is an additional pension which is basically a family allowance. In 2010, the DPA for a spouse was 220,870 won per annum. For a child or parent (aged 60 or over or with disability) DPA was 147,230 won per annum. Formula for calculation of BPA: BPA=1.5 (A+B) multiplied by ( N) A is the average (re-distributive component) of the price-indexed average monthly income for the 3 years prior to pension payment. B is the average amount of the standard monthly income of an insured person during the insured period (the earnings related element) represents an additional annual rate (5%) for the insured period exceeding 20 years. N denotes the number of insured years in excess of 20 years. 10

11 The National Pension Service (NPS) is responsible for managing the National Pension Fund, determining the pension contributions and paying the benefits. Source: * Defined Benefit Scheme: A pension plan where employee benefits are pre-determined by a formula based on the salary history, tenure of service and age rather than dependence on investment returns. ** Vesting Period: The period of service required for an employee to become entitled to the benefits of the pension plan. *** Pay- As-You-Go: A scheme where the pensions of the retired are paid for by their former employers, by contributions from those still in employment or from general taxation. 11

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