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Transcript of remarks by SLW on issue of statutory and general holidays

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on the issue of statutory and general holidays today (May 2):

Reporter: The issue of unifying the two sets of holidays has been going on for a long time, why you think it is not appropriate for legislator Lee Cheuk-yan to put in a private member's bill in the Legislative Council...

Secretary for Labour and Welfare: The matter in fact has been discussed by the Labour Advisory Board for some time and they are now engaged in serious discussion on the way forward. And in fact the whole issue is not that simple because if you look at the two sets of holidays, general holidays are really institutional holidays, and in fact whether it is paid and whether the employees can enjoy the right to have the holiday is a matter for negotiation between the employers and employees. Whereas the 12 statutory holidays are inscribed in the law, in fact they are labour benefits. They are protected by the law and employees are entitled to full pay if they satisfy the Employment Ordinance requirement. So we are talking about labour benefits versus institutional holidays, there is a subtle difference that we should understand. The fact that the Labour Advisory Board is discussing the matter is important. That underlines the fact that we are concerned about the issue, and in fact the Labour Department has initiated the study earlier to find out how many Hong Kong employees are enjoying 17 days' general holidays and how many are enjoying 12 days' statutory holidays. We are now examining the data, and with a view to building consensus in the Labour Advisory Board. So it would be premature to consider legislation at this stage. We don't think it is appropriate for any Legislative Council member to introduce a member's bill at this stage.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Saturday, May 2, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:42


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