A total of 5,612 applications have been filed by companies seeking exemption from the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF). The deadline for filing applications to allow existing voluntary schemes to co-exist with the MPF is tomorrow. There are 11,000 voluntary provident fund schemes eligible for such exemptions, covering about 900,000 workers. The Executive Council has named December 1 as the starting date for the MPF, under which employers and employees will each have to contribute five per cent of the worker's monthly salary. The MPF authority will issue pamphlets to employers and employees this month detailing the regulations regarding fund agents. More than 30,000 intermediary agents have passed an examination and have registered with the authority since February. The MPF will ensure the three-million workforce is covered by a retirement scheme.