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Standard Working Hours Committee holds 18th meeting

The following is issued on behalf of the Standard Working Hours Committee:

     The Standard Working Hours Committee (SWHC) held its 18th meeting today (December 29).

     The Chairperson of the SWHC, Dr Leong Che-hung, said after the meeting, "On the basis of the previous discussion of the SWHC, and with reference to the findings of the dedicated working hours survey as well as the public engagement and consultation on working hours conducted by the SWHC last year, the SWHC has in principle recommended exploring a legislative approach to mandatorily require employers and employees in general to enter into written employment contracts, specifying clearly such terms relating to working hours, e.g. the number of working hours, overtime work arrangements and methods of overtime compensation (i.e. the 'big frame'). The SWHC is also exploring whether there is a need for other suitable measure(s) to provide further protection for grass-roots employees with lower income, lower skills and less bargaining power (i.e. the 'small frame')."

     "The SWHC has agreed to consult major trade associations and labour organisations, employers' and employees' associations of the relatively long-working-hours sectors, and other relevant organisations on its preliminary discussion outcomes and working hours policy directions under exploration (i.e. the 'second-stage consultation'), so as to collect views for the SWHC's reference in further discussing working hours policy directions and preparing its report. Further to discussion of the framework of the second-stage consultation at the last meeting, the SWHC at the meeting today discussed the draft consultation document. The SWHC has agreed to consult the relevant organisations on four policy directions which can be considered for taking forward the working hours policy, namely: (i) only implementing the 'big frame'; (ii) only implementing the 'small frame'; (iii) on the premise of implementing the 'big frame', to implement the 'small frame' as well; and (iv) not to implement the 'big frame' nor 'small frame' but to implement other policies/measures pertaining to working hours (e.g. formulating guidelines for individual sectors). With reference to the SWHC's discussion, the secretariat will formulate the consultation document for the SWHC's consideration at the next meeting, and commence the second-stage consultation as soon as possible."

     Dr Leong also said, "In contemplating a working hours policy, the SWHC needs to carefully consider various factors including employees' overtime work situation, as well as the possible impacts of different scenarios on employees, employers, enterprises (particularly small and medium-sized enterprises), trades, the overall economy and the labour market, with a view to building community consensus and formulating appropriate and feasible working hours policy directions."

     "As some members, including the six employee members of the Labour Advisory Board, have not attended today's meeting, the secretariat will meet with those members not attending the meeting and listen to their views on the consultation document. I appeal once again to the members concerned to re-join the work of the SWHC as soon as possible and, together with other members, kick off the second-stage consultation to gauge the views of the community on working hours policy directions, thereby producing a report for the Government's consideration."

     Chaired by Dr Leong Che-hung, the SWHC comprises members drawn from the labour and business sectors, academia, the community and the Government. For details, please refer to the SWHC website (

Ends/Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:58


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