The Minimum Wage Commission set up to review the statutory
minimum wage has agreed in late September 2012 that the minimum
wage should be increased from HK$ 28 per hour to HK$ 30 per hour.
The Commission submitted its recommendations to the Chief Executive
at the end of October 2012. The Executive Council will now decide
whether to adopt the recommendation. It is expected that the
proposed increase in the minimum wage will be accepted and the new
statutory minimum wage will come into effect by 1 May 2013.
New rights to paternity leave for government employees
may lead to paternity leave for other employees
Since 1 April 2012, new fathers who are full time government
employees who have more than 40 weeks continuous service are
eligible to take 5 days' paternity leave on full pay. The
government is hoping that this step will encourage employers to
grant similar benefits to their employees who are expectant
fathers. It is likely that statutory paternity leave will be
introduced in time. The government is currently adopting a wait and
Proposed introduction of compulsory reinstatement
orders for unfairly dismissed employees
The Labour Department is drafting a bill to amend the Employment
Ordinance to introduce compulsory reinstatement and re-engagement
of an employee who has been dismissed unlawfully. Currently if an
employee has been dismissed unlawfully and without a valid reason,
the Labour Tribunal cannot make an award for reinstatement or
re-engagement without the employer's consent. The changes, if
implemented will enable the Labour Tribunal to make such an order
without seeking the employer's consent.
It is also proposed that clarifying amendments would be made to
the re-engagement provisions (under Part VIA of the Employment
Ordinance) to state clearly that a re-engagement order made by the
Labour Tribunal shall be directed at the employer alone and not his
successor or an associated company. However, if the employee
consents, an order for re-engagement can be taken to have been
complied with by the employer if the successor or associated
company of the employer re-engages the employee on the terms
specified in the order. The employee's continuity of employment
would be brought forward to the successor or associated company for
calculating entitlements under the Employment Ordinance and in
their contract of employment.
If the employer fails to comply with the compulsory order, the
employee would be entitled to additional compensation of three
times the monthly wages of the employee, subject to a maximum of
It is proposed that if there is a failure to pay the additional
compensation, then such a default will be a criminal offence and a
maximum fine of HK$ 350,000 and three years of imprisonment on
conviction of wilful non-payment of the further sum without
reasonable excuse, may be imposed.
The Labour Department is aiming to submit its proposed
amendments to the Legislative Council by July 2013.
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