Government releases Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours (with video)

     The Government today (November 26)  released the full report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours (SWH) after briefing the Labour Advisory Board on major study findings.  

     Speaking at a press conference, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The relatively long working hours situation in Hong Kong is a subject of considerable public concern and needs to be addressed. This has much to do with Hong Kong's heavily service-oriented economy."

     He pointed out that the subject of SWH is highly complex and controversial, and impacts on a much wider spectrum of employees than those covered by the statutory minimum wage. It also involves a host of interrelated social, economic and working culture issues.

     "The Administration keeps an open mind on whether we should eventually legislate for SWH. We have no pre-conceived idea on the way ahead," Mr Cheung stressed.

     The study covers three parts. First it looks at the systems and experiences of other places in regulating working hours. The second part is concerned with statistics on the latest working hours situation of the working population in various sectors of Hong Kong. The third part assesses the possible cost impact of introducing SWH in Hong Kong. The study aims to provide a solid and objective basis for an informed and in-depth public discussion on the subject of SWH.

     The report sets out a number of key issues that need to be discussed in depth among employees, employers and the community at large in exploring the way forward.

     "In handling this important subject with far-reaching implications, we must look fully into the background and implications of different policy objectives, and impartially and comprehensively consider the arguments for and against. I very much hope that the discussion will in the end shed light on the optimal future policy direction and facilitate the Administration in mapping out the way ahead.

     "The Chief Executive (CE) has pledged in his election manifesto to set up a Special Committee comprising government officials, representatives of employers and employees, academics and community leaders to follow up on the policy study.  Such a composition would ensure that the Special Committee works in an objective, holistic and balanced manner and ensure that the views and concerns on SWH's impact on the overall economy, labour market, small and medium enterprises and people's livelihood would be properly and fully reflected. We expect the Special Committee to be up and running by the first quarter of next year," Mr Cheung added.

     The full text of the Report, its Executive Summary and Overview can be downloaded from the Labour Department's website: .

     For enquiries on standard working hours, please send an email to

Ends/Monday, November 26, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:23