Most employers will be aware that the introduction of the
Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO) will have a major impact. One of the
complexities of the legislation is the need for every employer to
determine what "wages" can be applied to satisfy the MWO
obligations and what amount to "hours worked" (see our
recent article headed
"The Minimum Wage Ordinance - The Devils in the
In order to assist with this, we anticipate that many employers
will be looking to clarify these aspects with their employees.
We set out below a form of wording which employers may wish to
consider inserting into their contracts. This wording is
necessarily generic and so it is important that it is adjusted to
take account of the terms of their particular contracts. Normally
the consent of the employees is necessary for any change to
existing contracts. In any case, where employers are in any doubt
about how to proceed, they should contact their legal advisors.
(If changing contracts is too painful then employers could
consider inserting wording of this type into an Employee
1. Suggested Wording Concerning "Wages"
"(a) Subject to (b) below, any wages paid to you in any
wage period shall be paid for the hours worked by you
(b) Notwithstanding the above, where the Company is under a
statutory or contractual obligation to make any payment for time
that is not hours worked by you the wages paid shall be deemed to
be paid for such time also, but only up to the amount necessary to
satisfy the statutory or contractual obligation of the Company and
(c) For the purposes of this clause the terms
"wages", "wage period" and "hours
worked" shall have the same meaning as in the Minimum Wage
[Note: If rest days are currently paid and you are looking to
make them unpaid then this will increase the "daily average
wage" of an employee for the purposes of the Employment
2. Suggested Wording for "Working Hours"
"(a) Your hours of work are
[ ] am to
[ ] pm from
[Monday to Friday] [with one hour for lunch each day] (such period
of time[, excluding lunch,] shall be your "Contractual
Hours"). You may on occasion be required by the Company (by
means of a direction in writing) to work additional hours
(b) You understand and agree that, for the purposes of the
Minimum Wage Ordinance, the Company will treat the aggregate of
your Contracted Hours and Directed Hours in any month as the total
of your "hours worked" in that month unless you notify
the Company in writing [in the specified form] of any further
"hours worked" within  days of the date on which you
performed such further "hours worked". Details of what
amount to "hours worked" for the purposes of the MWO are
set out in
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This article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters
discussed herein. Please also read the JSM legal publications Disclaimer.
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