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SLW's response to Labour Day processions

     The Government attaches great importance to protecting statutory labour rights and is committed to improving employees' benefits at a pace commensurate with Hong Kong's socio-economic development while striking a balance between employees' interests and employers' affordability, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said in response to the Labour Day processions today (May 1).

     "Since the implementation of the Statutory Minimum Wage on May 1, 2011, the labour market as a whole has remained stable and the earnings of low-income workers have continued to improve. The Statutory Minimum Wage rate has further risen to $32.5 per hour with effect from today.

     "In 2015, statutory paternity leave has taken effect since late February. The amounts of 18 compensation items under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance and the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) Ordinance were raised in March with increases ranging from 5.73 per cent to 44.44 per cent.

     "The Standard Working Hours Committee is currently exploring in depth the future direction of Hong Kong's working hours policy with a view to building consensus on the way forward through an evidence-based approach and rational discussion. The Committee aims at submitting its report to the Government within the first quarter next year.

     "The Commission on Poverty is devising the framework and setting out the details for a public consultation on retirement protection, which is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015. To demonstrate its determination and commitment, the Government has earmarked $50 billion to provide for future needs.

     "Occupational safety and health has all along been a matter of the Government's prime concern. Apart from regular inspection and enforcement, the Labour Department has also taken proactive action to tackle systemic safety issues at source and stepped up publicity and education.

     "Looking ahead, we will continue to enhance harmonious employer-employee relations, promote employment and ensure a safe and healthy working environment apart from exploring other issues concerning labour benefits. We count on the concerted efforts of employers and employees in propelling our society and economy forward," said Mr Cheung.

Ends/Friday, May 1, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31


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