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LCQ8: Impact of the implementation of the statutory minimum wage

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (April 13):

Question :

     The Minimum Wage Ordinance (Cap. 608) will come into operation on May 1 this year.  There have been comments that since the statutory minimum wage system will be implemented in Hong Kong for the first time, the authorities should make reference to relevant overseas experience, and examine and assess the impact on the labour market.  In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) given that certain countries and regions have conducted empirical studies to assess the impact of implementing the minimum wage system on the disadvantaged or specific groups, whether the authorities will make reference to the relevant practice and conduct tracking studies on the impact on various social groups, such as people with disabilities, the elderly, women and young people; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(b) if the authorities have planned to conduct the aforesaid studies, of the amount of resources to be injected, and whether they will consult the public and community groups on details of the studies, and publish the findings of the studies in phases; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply :


(a) The aim of implementing the statutory minimum wage (SMW) regime is to provide a wage floor to forestall excessively low wages but without unduly jeopardising our labour market flexibility, economic competitiveness and employment opportunities for vulnerable workers.  The Government will conduct studies and analyses to closely monitor and evaluate the actual impact of the implementation of the SMW, in particular, on vulnerable employees, establishments in low-paying sectors as well as small and medium enterprises.

(b) Statistical data for the above studies are compiled mainly from the results of existing statistical surveys conducted by the Census and Statistics Department on a continual basis, including the Annual Earnings and Hours Survey, Labour Earnings Survey and General Household Survey.  Staff who conduct the studies also undertake other duties.  Therefore, the resources involved in the studies cannot be separately identified.  These statistical data will be available to the public.  On the basis of an evidence-based approach, the Minimum Wage Commission will conduct comprehensive analyses on statistical and empirical data gathered, and will listen carefully to the views of different sectors and various stakeholders in the deliberation process.  The Commission will issue timely press statements on its work and, where necessary, upload relevant data onto its webpage for public reference.

Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:31


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