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LCQ7: Temporary Programme Workers

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Wai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (November 17):


     At present, the Government allocates the posts of temporary Programme Workers (PWs) to a number of subvented welfare non-governmental organisations, in order to assist them in their daily operation and service provision.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) since 2008, of the annual amount of funding allocated by the Government to social welfare organisations for employment of PWs, the number of PWs that could be employed with the funding, and the actual number of PWs employed by such organisations;

(b) of the main duties of PWs; whether it will review afresh if there is a long-term and sustained need to retain such PW posts, and whether it will consider converting such posts to permanent posts; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(c) given that PWs are employed on contract terms, how their years of service will be calculated, and whether there is avenue for promotion for them at present; if so, of the details?



     As a special measure introduced during the economic downturn to strengthen support for youth employment, 3,000 temporary work opportunities were created for young people aged between 15 and 29. Allocations were made to welfare service units of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) subvented by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) in April 2008 for three years for the purpose of enhancing the employability of young people.  With the gradual recovery of the economy, the Government has decided to extend the scheme for one year so that young people may have more time to equip and prepare themselves for joining the labour market for open employment before the cessation of the scheme.

     My reply to the three parts of the question raised by the Hon Ip Wai-ming is set out below:

(a) During the three-year period between 2008-09 and 2010-11, the Government has allocated $300 million annually for the provision of the 3,000 temporary work opportunities.  There is mobility under the scheme as operating NGOs are encouraged to assist the youths concerned in finding open employment after they have acquired working experience.  The NGOs subvented by SWD employed a total of 4,077 and 4,031 Programme Workers in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively.

(b) The 3,000 temporary work opportunities have been allocated to welfare service units under NGOs subvented by SWD mainly to assist social workers in organising programmes for various welfare service areas, including children and youth, youths at risk, offenders, elderly and persons with disabilities.  Since these work opportunities are temporary and short-term in nature and are not the core posts in the welfare NGOs, we consider it inappropriate to regularise these work opportunities.

(c) The temporary work opportunities are provided to young people as a special measure during the economic downturn for them to acquire working experience and enhance their employability in the open market.  The purpose of on-the-job training for these young people would be achieved as they acquire certain working experience through these temporary work opportunities.  The young people may then seek job opportunities in the open market according to their interests, wish and career aspiration.  In fact, many of those who participated in the scheme have successfully secured employment in the open market, thereby attesting to the attainment of the objective of creating these work opportunities.

Ends/Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:38


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