LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF PRGF, CSG & NSF UNDER THE CURRENT REGIME 2022
1. THE PORTABLE RETIREMENT GRATUITY FUND
(a)The introduction of the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund
Under the previous regime, an employer was required to pay a lump sum gratuity to an employee or his/her heirs upon the employee’s retirement or death. This lump sum gratuity was computed as hereunder:
1.15 days’ final remuneration for every period of 12 months’ employment; and
2.A sum equal to one twelfth of the sum payable for 12 months’ employment multiplied by the number of months during which the worker has remained in the employment of the employer, for every period of less than 12 months.
It is cardinal to specify that only the employer, for whom the employee was working in last, was under the obligation to pay this fixed severance pay. This meant that if employees changed employers during their careers, they would not be able to receive severance pay that reflects their total years of service. In addition, employers found it cumbersome to pay a lump sum at the end of an employee's career.
To address these issues, the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund (hereinafter referred to as the “PRGF”) was established with the introduction of the Worker Rights Act 2019 (hereinafter referred to as the “WRA 2019”). Under the PRGF, employers are required to contribute monthly to the PRGF Fund instead of paying the above lump sum as compensation for employee retirement and / or death.
(b) The object and functioning of the PRGF
Section 89 and sequitur of the WRA 2019 provide the following:
“89. Object of Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund
The object of the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund shall be to provide for the payment of a gratuity –
(a) to a worker, on his retirement;
(b) to the legal heirs of a worker, on the death of the worker;
(c) to a self-employed who has contributed to the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund, on his retirement; or
(d)to the legal heirs of a self-employed who has contributed to the Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund, on the death of the self-employed.”
In virtue of section 94 (2) of the WRA 2019, the Mauritius Revenue Authority (hereinafter referred to as the “MRA”) is the responsible body for the collection of contributions and payment from the PRGF.
(c) Commencement Date of the Contribution
Monthly PRGF became applicable as from 01 January 2020 with the proclamation of the Workers’ Rights (Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund) Regulations 2019 in February 2020 (hereinafter referred to as the “Regulations 2019”) with an effective date of 1 January 2020. At the time of its proclamation, it provided private sector companies with a moratorium of 3 months such that they were required to remit the amount due as of January 2020 and onwards into the PRGF only as from April 2020. However, in view of the challenging circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 situation, this moratorium was extended until January 2022.
(d) Eligibility to join the PRGF
Pursuant to the provisions of section 94 (1) of the WRA 2019, the PRGF does not apply to the hereunder four categories of employees:
1.An employee whose retirement benefits are paid in accordance with a private pension scheme
2.An employee who draws a monthly basic salary of more than MUR 200,000
3.A migrant employee
4.Public officers, local government officers and those who derive retirement benefits under the Statutory Bodies Pension Funds Act.
At this stage, it is pivotal to emphasize that employees who are not qualified to join the PRGF are, nevertheless, entitled to a lump sum retirement gratuity based on their last employer's duration of employment and calculated as explained under Part A above. It should be emphasized that in order to be eligible for the lump sum gratuity, the employee must have worked for that employer for at least 12 months. In the scenario when the employer contributed to a private pension scheme or provided any other gratuity or retirement benefit to the employee, certain adjustments can be made from the lump sum gratuity to be given, in case of shortfalls or surpluses.
(e) Rate of contribution
The applicable rate of contribution varies from 2.1% to 4.5% depending on an employer’s annual turnover and categories of employees. Where the employer’s rate of contribution is less than 4.5%, the government funds the difference between that rate and 4.5%. For Law Firms, the rate of contribution makes up a cumulative figure of 4.5% of the monthly remuneration of the eligible employee.
(f) Contribution for Past Services for employees who were in employment as at 01 January 2020
Section 95 of the WRA 2019 is to the effect that, an employer shall, in addition to any contribution paid under section 94, pay the contributions in respect of the past services of a worker who is in his employment on the commencement of this Part.
Consequently, am employer is under the legal obligation to contribute for the past services of its eligible employee who was in employment as at 01 January 2020 in cases where:
1.The employment of the eligible employee is terminated
2.The eligible employee retires on attaining the appropriate retirement age
3.The eligible employee dies
Where the employment of the employee is terminated by the employer or the employee retires/dies, the PRGF contributions for past services should cover the period between the date of commencement of the employee’s employment and 1 January 2022.
On the other hand, where an employee resigns, the contribution for past services will cover only the period between 01 January 2020 (when the PRGF came into force) and 01 January 2022 (when contributions become mandatory).
Contributions for past services can be paid at any time prior to the occurrence of any one of the above events to the MRA or to the eligible employee or to the heirs of the eligible employee, not later than one month after the date of termination of employment, or the date of retirement or death of the eligible worker, as the case may be. The contributions for past services is computed on the last monthly remuneration drawn by the employee.
The MRA has stated in its recently issued a Communiqué that employers will be required to pay PRGF contributions for past services of their employees. According to the Communiqué, the period from 1 January 2020 to December 2021 will form part of the period when the employee provided the said “past services”.
(g) Contribution for Past Services for employees currently in employment
In respect of employees who are still in employment, the event giving rise to the payment of gratuity (retirement, death or resignation) will not have taken place.
This begs the question: What period should the employer make past contributions for, given that the answer differs based on how the employment relationship comes to an end?
If the employment is subsequently terminated by the employer or the employee retires/dies, the employer would have to contribute for the period between the date of commencement of the employee’s employment and date of the termination of employment or date of the death of the employer.
If, on the other hand, the employee resigns, the employer would not be required to make additional payments for past services prior to 1 January 2020.
It should be noted that this conclusion is based on our interpretation of the law and the communiqués and guidelines issued by the MRA and Business Mauritius.
2. CONTRIBUTION SOCIALE GENÉRALISÉE
(a) The introduction of the Contribution Sociale Genéralisée
Contribution Sociale Généralisée (hereinafter referred to as the “CSG”) was introduced by the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020. This new system of social contributions replaced the National Pensions Fund (hereinafter referred to as the “NPF”) and became applicable as from September 2020. Thereafter, with the coming into force of the novel law, the Social Contribution and Social Benefits Act 2021 (hereinafter referred to as the “SCSB Act 2021”), changes were brought to the social contributions, and its provisions became applicable as from the month of September 2021.
(b)Rate of Contribution
Pursuant to the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the SCSB Act 2021, the rate of contribution is as follows:
3. NATIONAL SAVINGS FUND
(a)The introduction of the National Savings Fund
The National Savings Fund (hereinafter referred to as the “NSF”) was created in 1995 under the National Savings Fund Act (hereinafter referred to as the “NSF Act”). The objects of the Fund are to provide for the payment of a lump sum to every employee on his retirement or in respect of every employee, at the time of his death, and to set up and operate for the benefit of employees, such schemes, including loan schemes, as may be prescribed.
(b) Rate of Contribution
All employees and employers are also required to contribute to the NSF at the rate of 1% and 2.5% respectively. The contribution is capped and the minimum and maximum wages on which the NSF is applied is MUR 3,055 and MUR 19,900 respectively.
EMPLOYER’S CONTRIBUTION TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE PRGF, CSG AND NSF