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Chief Executive-in-Council adopts initial statutory minimum wage rate

     The Chief Executive-in-Council has adopted the recommendation of the Provisional Minimum Wage Commission (PMWC) to set the initial statutory minimum wage (SMW) rate at $28 per hour.

     The Chief Executive-in-Council has also decided that the initial SMW rate will come into force on May 1, 2011, which is the next Labour Day. The relevant Minimum Wage Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 3) Notice 2010 will be published in the Gazette this Friday (November 12) and tabled at the Legislative Council on November 17 (Wednesday).

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, paid warm tribute to the Chairperson of the PWMC, Ms Teresa Cheng, and all its members for their hard and excellent work in the past year or so in fulfilling this historic mission.

     Mr Cheung said, "The statutory minimum wage is totally new to Hong Kong. I appreciate that it will take time for the community, especially employers and employees, to get used to it. What is important is that we should always remember that the aim of the statutory minimum wage is to protect grassroots workers and ensure that the pay that they get is commensurate with the hours worked.

     "I should also reiterate that employees are an enterprise's most valuable asset. It is always in the interest of employers to bear in mind the well-being, morale and sentiments of their employees, to treat them well and maintain harmonious labour relations."

     Before the implementation of the SMW, the Labour Department will launch extensive public education-cum-promotion campaigns on SMW requirements and draw up guidelines with relevant stakeholder groups to address the special characteristics of specific sectors. Publicity materials with illustrative examples drawn from different trades and industries to explain the application of the Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO) will also be formulated to facilitate employers and employees' understanding of their respective obligations and entitlements.  

     "Employees who feel aggrieved and find their rights undermined should seek help from the Labour Department, and we stand ready to assist," Mr Cheung stressed.

     "In the past year, the broad-based economic recovery and progressive improvement in the labour market have provided a relatively stable macro environment for statutory minimum wage implementation. I hope that we can all be practical, fair, and reasonable in realising the spirit of the statutory minimum wage and reducing its negative impact to the minimum. Let's work together to protect the rights of our grassroots workers and foster social harmony," Mr Cheung said.  

     The Government will also publish in the Gazette on November 12, and table at the Legislative Council on November 17, the Minimum Wage Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 2010, Minimum Wage Ordinance (Commencement) (No. 2) Notice 2010 and Employment Ordinance (Amendment of Ninth Schedule) Notice 2010.  The Commencement Notices set the commencement date for the MWO.  The latter specifies the monthly monetary cap on keeping records of hours worked.  An employer will be exempted from the requirement to record the total number of hours worked by an employee in a wage period if the wages payable to the employee for that wage period are not less than $11,500 per month.

Ends/Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Issued at HKT 17:06


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