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新聞稿︰新婦女協進會就終身年金計劃涉性別歧視會見婦女事務委員會主席

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香港按揭証劵公司於今年7月,透過香港年金公司推出終身年金計劃,65歲的男性及女性若投資100萬元,每月分別可領取5800元及5300元。本會認為,這種因應不同性別而向供款者發放不同回報的做法,涉嫌性別歧視而違反《基本法》和《香港人權法案》。亦顯示出政府推行「性別主流化」及「性別影響評估」不足。

本會聯同香港婦女中心協會於今日會見婦委會主席陳婉嫻女士,就年金計劃涉嫌歧視表達關注。

香港案例顯示,基於性別定型(stereotype)觀念的政策,實屬性別歧視。在平等機會委員會對教育署署長(HCAL 155/2000,2001年6月22日),教署以女生校內成績普遍較佳,在小學升中的評分中,一律減女生分數而加男生分數,結果政府被判敗訴,高等法院夏正民法官指教署看來著重男女整體上之平等而忽略個別男女之平等。而《基本法》第25條和《香港人權法案》第22條均保障每個人的平等,個人權利不可被整體假設(broad assumptions)所剥奪 (判詞段80,83-91) 。

上述案中還徵引了一宗美國案例,案中女僱員需較男僱員支付更高的退休金保費,法庭指出,即使有數據支持(女性整體上較男性長壽),也構成性別歧視。(判詞段92)

此外,歐盟亦根據一宗於2011年3月1日作出判決的案件(Association belge des Consommateurs Test-Achats ASBL and Others v Conseil des ministres, Case C-236/09),於2012年12月20日發出新聞稿,提醒保險公司,不可以單憑投保人士的性別而作出差別收費或回報,並指投保公司應就投保人士的情況作出更仔細的劃分,例如以汽車責任保為例,保險公司應視投保者是否一個小心謹慎的駕駛者而決定保費高低,而不應單憑其性別而收取不同費用。

終身年金計劃亦可能違反《性別歧視條例》,雖然條例第51條令「保險業務」(insurance business)可獲豁免,不過,年金計劃未必屬保險業務,因為年金計劃是政府的公共政策,屬公共年金;  計劃由財政司司長以外匯基金管理人身份實益擁有,政府間接透過年金公司管理此計劃,代理銀行只是授權中介人銀行。

本會促請婦委會和平等機會委員會就有關計劃有否構成性別歧視,進行主動調查和跟進。

新婦女協進會

2018年8月15日

Press release: HKAAF met with the Chairperson of Women’s Commission regarding alleged sex discrimination of HKMC Annuity Plan

The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited (HKMC) launched the “HKMC Annuity Plan” (the Plan) through HKMC Annuity Limited (HKMCA). Men and women aged above 65 can get $5800 and $5300 each month respectively when they invest 1 million dollars. HKAAF believed that giving differential returns to contributors based on gender discriminates against sex, and may violate the Basic Law and Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. The execution of the Plan shows that the government lacks gender mainstreaming and gender impact assessment in policy making.

HKAAF and Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres had a meeting with the Chairperson of Women’s Commission, Ms. CHAN Yuen-han, to express concern over the alleged sex discrimination of the Plan.

A case in Hong Kong showed that policies based on gender stereotypes discriminate against sex. In Equal Opportunities Commission V Director of Education (HCAL 1555/2000, 22 June 2001), the Education Department deducted SSPA scores of girls while increased that of boys based on the reason that girls typically scored higher on the Internal Assessment portion. The government eventually lost the case. In the judgment, Hon Mr Justice Hartmann commented, ‘Director has looked essentially at what I will call “group fairness” and, in so doing, has turned a blind eye to the rights of individual boys and girls.’ Actually, Article 25 of Basic Law and Article 22 of Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance ensured the equality of every individual, and individual rights could not be violated by broad assumptions (Paragraph 80, 83-91). A case in the US was also quoted in the judgment. In the case, female employees had to pay a higher retirement insurance fee than male employees. The court held that it was discriminatory even when it was backed up by statistics (that women generally live longer than men and therefore generally draw on their pensions longer). (Paragraph 92)

Besides, the European Union issued a press release on 20 December 2012 (Association belge des Consommateurs Test-Achats ASBL and Others v Conseil des ministres, Case C-236/09) based on the decision of the case handed down on 1 March 2011. It reminded insurance companies not to request differential charges or give a return based on the sex of the payor, and insured companies should categorize payors in a more detailed manner. Take motor insurance cover as an example. Insurance companies should decide the insurance fees based on whether the payor is a careful driver, but not his/her sex.

The Plan may also violate Sex Discrimination Ordinance. Though insurance business is exempt from Article 51, the Plan may not belong to insurance business as it is a government policy and falls into the category of public annuity. The Plan is wholly-owned by the Financial Secretary through the Exchange Fund, and it is managed by the government indirectly through HKMCA. Corresponding banks are only authorized agent banks.

HKAAF urged Women’s Commission and EOC to carry out a direct investigation and follow-up action on whether the Plan discriminates against sex.

HKAAF

15 August 2018

 

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