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Suspension of Employees Retraining Levy extended to 2013

     The Chief Executive-in-Council decided today (November 11) that the Employees Retraining Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 3) (No. 2) Notice 2008 (Amendment Notice No. 2) should be made under the Employees Retraining Ordinance (ERO) for a period of five years from August 1, 2008, to suspend the obligation on employers of all imported labour, including foreign domestic helpers (FDHs), to pay the Employees Retraining Levy up to July 31, 2013.

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The extension decision was made taking into account the latest economic developments in relation to the financial turmoil, public views and the financial condition of the Employees Retraining Fund.

     "In our view, the further extension strikes the right balance between providing continued relief to the middle class and meeting the needs of our local workers for training and retraining services."

     The levy suspension would apply to all employment contracts for which visas for the imported labour/FDH concerned are issued by the Immigration Department between August 1, 2008, and July 31, 2013, including new contracts and renewal of existing contracts.

     Mr Cheung said, "Notwithstanding this further extension in the levy suspension, the Government's overall policy that the operating expenses of the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) should be primarily met by the levy income, and that employers of low-skilled imported labour should contribute towards the training and retraining of the local workforce, remains unchanged.

     "In the long run, levy collection is essential in ensuring steady and sufficient financial resources for the ERB to enhance the employability of the local workforce so as to maintain Hong Kong's economic competitiveness."

     The Amendment Notice No. 2 takes immediate effect upon gazettal today.  It will be tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting on November 12, 2008.

Ends/Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Issued at HKT 11:48


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