Press Release



LCQ14: Use of flexitime in the civil service


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (December 6):


The Chief Executive stated in his Policy Address this year that "the Government will consider further promoting flexitime to enable working parents to spend more time with their children and to participate more actively in school affairs and activities organized by parent-teacher associations". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the bureaux and departments which allow their staff to work flexitime; and the ranks and grades of the eligible staff;

(b) whether it has reviewed the impact of staff working flexitime on the services provided by the bureaux and departments concerned; if so, of the findings of these reviews; and

(c) of the actions it will take to promote flexitime within and outside the Government?


The Civil Service has been using flexitime arrangements for over 20 years. The Civil Service flexitime is based around "core operating hours" within which all officers must be present at work. Outside these core hours, departments may adopt a number of flexible working arrangements. These vary in flexibility from officers being allowed to choose the starting time of work each day which then determines the finishing time to a "staggered working hours" system under which officers may choose from a prescribed number of alternative starting/finishing times. The intention of having these flexitime arrangements is to balance the operational needs of departments with officers' personal/family needs. Our response to the three points raised in the question is as follows:

(a) Departments may adopt the arrangements which are most appropriate to their operations. At present, 65 bureaux and departments (details at Annex) adopt one or more of the above flexitime arrangements. Over 160 grades (450 ranks) are involved.

(b) The Government monitors the use of flexitime in the Civil Service and has reviewed the arrangements from time to time. The fundamental principle is that whichever system is used, there must be no adverse impact on the quality of service and convenience to the public or departmental efficiency. In addition, bureaux and departments are required to set the core operating time most appropriate to their operational need; and the overall conditioned working hours of officers must not be reduced. We are satisfied that the bureaux and departments concerned adhere to these principles.

(c) The Government will continue to explore opportunities for greater use of flexitime arrangements within the Civil Service. Bureaux and departments will be encouraged to take a positive approach to their flexitime arrangements.

The Labour Department will help promote flexitime outside the government through the department's promotional and training functions which include seminars, training courses on good people management practices and personnel management clubs meetings which are specially targeted at human resources management personnel. The department will also promote the benefits of flexitime arrangement at the industry level through the tripartite committees which are represented by employers organisations, trade unions and the government. All these promotional efforts should help cultivate a more positive reception of flexitime work arrangement and encourage more organisations to adopt flexitime work practices.

In addition, the Education and Manpower Bureau will work with the Business Coalition on Education to encourage employers to grant time-off for working parents to participate in school activities, and to promote flexitime, where necessary, to facilitate child care.



Bureaux and departments adopting some form of flexitime


Civil Service Bureau

Commerce and Industry Bureau

Constitutional Affairs Bureau

Education & Manpower Bureau

Health & Welfare Bureau

Housing Bureau

Information Technology & Broadcasting Bureau

Planning & Lands Bureau

Security Bureau

Transport Bureau

Works Bureau



Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department

Architectural Services Department

Auxiliary Medical Services

Buildings Department

Census & Statistics Department

Civil Aviation Department

Civil Engineering Department

Civil Service Training & Development Institute

Correctional Services Department

Customs & Excise Department

Department of Health

Drainage Services Department

Education Department

Electrical & Mechanical Service Department

Environmental Protection Department

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

Government Flying Service

Government Land Transport Administrator

Government Property Agency

Government Supplies Department

Highways Department

Home Affairs Department

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Hong Kong Police Force

Housing Department

Immigration Department

Independent Commission Against Corruption

Independent Police Complaints Council

Information Technology Services Department

Innovation & Technology Department

Intellectual Property Department


Labour Department

Lands Department

Leisure & Cultural Services Department

Marine Department

Office of the, Telecommunications Authority

Official Languages Agency

Official Receiver's Office

Planning Department

Printing Department

Radio Television Hong Kong

Rating & Valuation Department

Social Welfare Department

Standing Committee on Civil Service Salaries

& Conditions of Service

Standing Committee on Disciplined Services

Salaries and Conditions of Service

Student Financial Assistant Agency

Territory Development Department

The Ombudsman

Trade & Industry Department

Transport Department


University Grants Committee

Water Supplies Department


Total : 65

End/Wednesday, December 6, 2000