International Benefits Update – Q4 2021

Woodruff Sawyer
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Woodruff Sawyer

In Q4 2021, we saw several countries increase their pension contributions for 2022, along with enhancements to leave entitlements and foreign worker mandates.

The Americas

Argentina Increases Pensionable Salary And Contributions

The Argentinian government increased its pensionable salary by 12% for employee contributions. Effective Dec. 1, 2021, the minimum salary went up to ARS 9,787.95 and maximum ARS 318,103.83. The total minimum and maximum old age, survivors, and disability pensions also increased by around 12% from the same date. Additionally, employers’ fixed sum contributions to the occupational disease trust fund (FFEP) will double to ARS 100 from the current ARS 49.98 per employee beginning Feb. 1, 2022.

Canada: British Columbia Implements Paid Sick Leave

British Columbia implemented five days of employer-paid sick leave for personal illness or injury. This leave can be taken in addition to the existing entitlement of three unpaid days. Paid sick leave went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

APAC

Singapore Amends Central Provident Fund Contributions

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the employee and employer combined contribution rate  increases to 28% from 26% for employees aged 55 and one day up to 60 years, from 16.15% to 18.15% for employees aged 60 and one day up to 65 years, and from 12.5% to 14% for employees aged 65 and one day up to 70 years. The combined contribution rate will remain at 12.5% for those aged 70 and one day or older and at 37% for workers aged 55 or younger. The government also will streamline the retirement payout process by automatically paying Special Account and Ordinary Account savings amounts to the employees when they exhaust their Retirement Account (RA). This new step will allow employees to access retirement funds without having to request transfers from RA. The Central Provident Fund provides pension to employees through three accounts — Ordinary Account, Special Account, and Retirement Account. Retirement age will increase from 67 to 68 years from July 1, 2022.

China: Beijing, Shanghai Enhance Maternity Leave

Effective Nov. 26, 2021, maternity leave in Beijing increased from 128 days to 158 days. The extended days of maternity leave can be shared by both parents. In addition, new parents are entitled to 10 working days of employer-paid parental leave every year for each child under age three. Shanghai also increased its maternity leave from 128 days to 158 days, effective Nov. 25, 2021. New parents also can have five working days of parental leave, funded by their employer.

China: Foreign Workers Mandates In Shanghai

Since Aug. 16,2021, foreign workers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who work in Shanghai are required to participate in the nation’s social security system. Employers must enroll the employees within 30 days of obtaining work permits and make monthly contributions.

EMEA

Benin Introduces Mandatory Health Insurance

Effective Jan. 1, 2022 employers are required to provide health insurance assurance maladie obligatoire (AMO) to all employees. Funded by employers, AMO will follow the minimum level of coverage (panier de soins de base) set forth by the Council of Ministers.

Finland Updates Survivor’s Pension Scheme

Finland revised the survivor’s pension scheme effective Jan. 1, 2022. The pension for surviving spouses born in 1975 or later now is a fixed-term for both the national pension and the continuing pension, with the duration limited to a period of 10 years or until the worker’s youngest child reaches the age of 18. Unmarried partners can now take the survivor’s pension if they have cohabited  for five or more years or have a child younger than age 18. The orphan’s pension payout increased from age 18 to 20.

Hungary To Abolish Vocational Training Contribution

The Hungarian government will abolish vocational training contributions  from Aug. 1, 2022. Currently employers contribute 1.5% of total pensionable salary towards vocational training for employees.

Israel Increases Retirement Age for Women

The normal retirement age for women in Israel increased from 62 to 65 years. As per the new law, the normal retirement age will increase four months a year from 2022 to 2024 until age 63 and three months a year from 2025 to 2032. The new law does not change the retirement age for men, which is set at 67 years.

Italy Expands Antonio Pastore Fund

Italy expanded the definition of the Antonio Pastore Fund to include professional and private accidents insurance coverage from Jan. 1,2022. Employer contribution to the Antonio Pastore Fund will increase to EUR 5,048.26 from EUR 4,761.26 for each executive. Antonio Pastore is a life and pension fund for executives (dirigenti) in the commercial sector as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.

Luxembourg Increases Pension Contributions

The old-age pension benefits in Luxembourg are boosted by a flat rate of EUR 532.78, with minimum pension benefit equal to EUR 1,956.12 and maximum EUR 9,056.11. The contribution increase is effective Oct. 1, 2021.

Moldova Increases Old-Age Pension

Moldova enacted several changes to the pension and social insurance program effective Oct. 1, 2021 in an effort to support vulnerable groups in the country. The old-age pension increased to MDL 2,000 from MDL 1,188.05 for eligible individuals. The monthly social assistance old-age pension paid to retirees who do not qualify for the social insurance old-age pension increased to MDL 1,000 from MDL 594.03. Additionally, the government set up a new indexation method under which benefits will be adjusted on April 1 and October 1 every year. All social security benefits increased by 3.86% on Oct. 1, 2021.

Qatar Rolls Out Health Insurance Mandate For Foreign Employees

From May 4, 2022, employers in Qatar will be required to provide health insurance to foreign employees and their dependents. Foreign nationals can receive basic healthcare services through private health insurance. Employers fund the costs of mandated insurance, including deductibles and copayments. 

UAE: Dubai Enhances Benefits

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the Dubai Health Authority implemented several enhancements to the minimum requirements for benefits. Coverage for psychiatry and mental health with a limit of AED 10,000 will be included under inpatient, outpatient, and emergency benefits. The maternity benefit limit increased from AED 7,000 to AED 10,000. Inclusion of the influenza vaccine is mandatory annually. Coverage for alternative medicines, homeopathy, and ayurveda now will be included with the medical coverage.

UAE Makes Changes to Leave Entitlements 

Effective Feb. 2, 2022, maternity leave in the UAE increases to 60 calendar days from 45 days. Per the new mandate, 45 days of the leave will be fully paid, with the additional 15 days at half pay. A female employee who delivers a child with special needs will be entitled to 30 days of leave with full pay after the maternity leave period.

Nursing breaks have been reduced from 18 to six months and maternity-related sick leave has been reduced from 100 to 45 days. Employees can now take five days of compassionate leave in the event of the death of an employee’s spouse and three days in the event of the death of an employee’s parent, child, sibling, or grandparent. An annual 10-day study leave now is available for employees with more than two years of service.

United Kingdom: New Public Holiday For 2022

The UK government has announced that June 3, 2022 will be a paid public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary as a monarch. The new holiday will only be celebrated this year.

[View source.]

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