Standard Working Hours Committee submits report to CE (with photo/video)
The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) submitted its report to the Chief Executive today (January 27).
The Chairperson of the SWHC, Dr Leong Che-hung, said, "Since its formation in April 2013, the SWHC has completed a number of important tasks. These include conducting an in-depth working hours survey and two rounds of broad-based public consultation, as well as examining a range of factors and information relating to working hours policy including, among others, the Consultation Report on Legislating for Standard Working Hours submitted by the labour sector directly to the Chief Executive. After careful deliberation and balancing different considerations in light of the data and views collected, the SWHC submitted its report to the Chief Executive today and put up the following major recommendations on working hours policy:
(i) to adopt a legislative approach to mandate employers to enter into written employment contracts with the lower-income grass-roots employees, which shall include terms on working hours and overtime compensation arrangements. Having regard to the operational needs of different sectors and occupations, employers and employees may work out the agreed contents of these terms on the premise that the relevant legal requirements are satisfied;
(ii) to adopt a legislative approach to specify that the lower-income grass-roots employees should be entitled to overtime compensation by way of overtime pay at a rate no less than the rate of the agreed wages (Note) or the equivalent time-off in lieu, so as to further protect these lower-income employees;
(iii) through the Labour Department's existing industry-based tripartite committees and setting up new ones for other sectors with relatively long working hours (such as cleaning services and elderly homes), to engage in continued dialogue with stakeholders from sectors where long working hours and/or uncompensated overtime are relatively more common, with a view to formulating and publishing sector-specific guidelines setting out suggested working hours standards, overtime compensation methods and good working hours management measures for employers' reference and adoption so as to improve employees' working hours arrangements; and
(iv) to monitor the implementation of the above recommendations (e.g. collecting relevant information and statistics through enforcement action and statistical surveys) and review their effectiveness after two years of implementation, and continue to discuss and study through an appropriate tripartite platform whether there is a need for Standard Working Hours legislation; and, if so, its contents and relevant arrangements."
As stated in its report, the SWHC considers that Recommendations (i) and (ii) above should not cover persons to whom the Employment Ordinance and the Minimum Wage Ordinance do not apply, and recommends that the Government may conduct detailed examination and impact assessment with a view to determining the scope of lower-income employees requiring protection, as well as further collating the views and making reference to relevant information, so as to formulate the contents and detailed arrangements of these two recommendations.
Dr Leong also said, "The SWHC hopes the recommended direction would provide the first and important step in taking forward working hours policy. While enhancing the protection of employees' rights, the recommendations have also given due regard to the affordability of enterprises and the need to maintain a sustainable socio-economic development. I would like to thank members for their active participation and concerted efforts which have contributed to the smooth completion of the report."
Chaired by Dr Leong Che-hung, the SWHC comprises members drawn from the labour and business sectors, academia, the community and the Government. For details, please refer to the SWHC website (www.swhc.org.hk).
The full text of the SWHC Report, with details of the SWHC's deliberation and recommendations, can be accessed via the SWHC website (www.swhc.org.hk/en/resources/index.html).
Note: It refers to the wage rate calculated based on agreed wages. For the definition of agreed wages, please see paragraph 6.6 of the SWHC Report for details.
Ends/Friday, January 27, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:50
Issued at HKT 14:50