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LCQ12: Implementation of five-day week
     Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Clement Cheung, in the Legislative Council today (June 28):


     Starting from 2006, the Government has implemented the initiative of five-day work week (FDWW) in phases to improve the quality of civil servants' family life. Under this policy objective, the Government encourages various policy bureaux and government departments to implement FDWW subject to four basic principles (i.e. no additional staffing resources, no reduction in the conditioned hours of work of staff, no reduction in emergency services, and continued provision of essential counter services on Saturdays/Sundays). It is learnt that at present, 27 per cent of civil servants still cannot benefit from FDWW. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of civil servants who currently do not work on the FDWW pattern, with a breakdown by policy bureau and government department;
(2) of the effectiveness of the FDWW trial schemes implemented by the various government departments in recent years; whether the Government will encourage more government departments to implement such trial schemes; and
(3) whether it will consider reviewing the aforesaid four basic principles so that more civil servants can benefit from FDWW?


     The Government has implemented the five-day week (FDW) initiative in three phases since 2006. The objective is to improve the quality of civil servants’ family life with feasible means without compromising the level and efficiency of public services and incurring additional costs to taxpayers. Hence, the four principles below have to be followed when taking forward the work on this front:
(a) no additional staffing resources;
(b) no reduction in the conditioned hours of work of individual staff;
(c) no reduction in emergency services; and
(d) continued provision of essential counter services on Saturdays/Sundays.
     To monitor the progress, we conduct biennial surveys on the implementation of FDW in Bureaux/Departments. As at September 30, 2016, around 115 500 (Note) civil servants (i.e. around 73 per cent of the civil service strength) were working on a FDW pattern.
     Due to actual operational needs, it is unavoidable that some civil servants cannot work on a FDW pattern. They are mainly working in departments involved in law enforcement, passenger/cargo clearance, management of penal institutions, or the delivery of immigration counter services, social welfare services, leisure and cultural services, postal services, environmental hygiene services, etc.
     Nonetheless, a number of departments have been implementing trial schemes proactively in recent years. Since September 2014, more than 700 staff have been migrated to a FDW pattern successfully. At present, three departments are implementing or reviewing the effectiveness of trial schemes, involving more than 400 staff. We will continue to encourage departments to explore ways so that more staff can be migrated to a FDW pattern.
     The FDW initiative is a family-friendly measure but not part of the conditions of service. We have to strike an appropriate balance between improving the family life quality of civil servants and ensuring prudent use of public resources. Therefore, the Government currently has no intention to amend the four principles mentioned above.
Note: The figure included staff who were on FDW trial schemes, but excluded civil servants working in government schools, the Judiciary, the Hospital Authority, the Vocational Training Council, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Legal Aid Services Council.
Ends/Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30
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