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Family-friendly employment practices for catering industry a win-win choice for employers and employees (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, attended a ceremony to launch Family-friendly Employment Practical Guidelines for Catering Industry today (October 9).

     He called on the catering industry to make reference to the newly formulated guidelines for adopting a family-friendly working environment in the industry, which would help enhance the image of the trade and attract more employees to join the industry.

     Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mr Cheung said that at present, the catering industry in Hong Kong employed more than 242 000 people, accounting for about 6.4 per cent of the employment in the city. Additionally, the Labour Department (LD) recorded 988 000 private sector vacancies between January and September this year, among which about 16.5 per cent (about 163 000) originated from the catering industry, an increase of 11.1 per cent over the same period last year. It would remain a major challenge for the industry to attract and retain talent as reflected by the keen manpower demand.

     Mr Cheung said, "Employers can no longer just rely on salary increases to recruit and retain good employees in Hong Kong today. This is due to the increasing expectations of employees for a balance between work and family life alongside the development of society. In addition to pay rises, employees are increasingly concerned about their families and quality of life at the same time.

     "LD has always spared no effort in promoting family-friendly employment practices, protecting employees' occupational safety and health, as well as providing employment services. With the creation of a more favourable environment at work and better protection of employees' benefits, we hope to encourage more people, particularly women, new arrivals, ethnic minorities and mature persons to join the job market with a view to unleashing the potential labour force."

     To encourage wider adoption of family-friendly employment practices in the catering industry, with the support of employers' associations and labour unions of LD's Tripartite Committee on Catering Industry, LD commissioned Hong Kong Shue Yan University to conduct research on the subject in the last quarter of 2014. A set of Family-friendly Employment Practical Guidelines for the Catering Industry, formulated after analysing and assessing different views collected, was formally launched today.

     The guidelines have taken into account the characteristics of different types and scales of catering establishments to make recommendations on arrangements which are considered practicable by employers and desirable for employees. Handy tips on operational matters are also available.

     "Family-friendly employment practices are diverse. Any enterprise can adopt some of these practices regardless of its scale of business, the financial and manpower resources available, as well as its modes of operation," Mr Cheung emphasised.

    Mr Cheung was pleased to see that employers' associations and labour unions have both proactively taken part and have frank communication in formulating the guidelines. He hoped that the guidelines will be the beginning of collaborative support by both employers and employees for the adoption of family-friendly employment practices in the catering industry, with a view to promoting the industry's image and enhancing its competitiveness in the manpower market. He also hoped that these guidelines would become a good example for other industries to implement more family-friendly employment practices.

     The launch ceremony was held at Citywalk, Tsuen Wan. Over 100 representatives of the catering industry from restaurant groups, labour unions and trade associations participated in the event. There was also an exhibition by the LD at the venue to introduce the guidelines and relevant information on the Employment Ordinance.

Ends/Friday, October 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30


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