Exco gives nod to HK$2 wage hike

THE minimum hourly wage for Hong Kong workers is set to go up by HK$2 to HK$34.50 from May if legislators agree to the rise.

The increase of 6.2 percent on the current statutory minimum wage (法定最低工資水平) was recommended by the Minimum Wage Commission (最低工資委員會) and was adopted by the Executive Council.

Acting Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Stephen Sui Wai-keung (署理勞工及福利局局長蕭偉強), said the commission has reviewed the rate with “reasonable and balanced deliberation.”

“The earnings of low-income employees have continued to improve. The smooth implementation of the minimum wage has been attributable to the support of the community,” he said.

Commission chairman Jat Sew-tong (翟紹唐) said the recommended rate maintained a balance between the objectives of forestalling excessively low wages and minimising the loss of low-paid jobs while retaining Hong Kong’s competitiveness.

The commission believes employers in most sectors can afford to pay the recommended rate and estimated that the total wage cost would increase by about 0.1 percentage point, or HK$660m.

It also believes the new rate is unlikely to have a negative impact on the labour market.

According to government statistics, 154,500 workers - 5.2 percent of all employees in Hong Kong - were earning less than HK$34.50 an hour during the months from May to June in 2015.

The commission estimated that until the recommended minimum wage is implemented, around 74,100 of employees, 2.5 percent of all employees in Hong Kong, will be earning that amount.

The minimum wage was last raised from HK$30 to HK$32.50 in 2015. It was first implemented in 2011 with the rate at HK$28.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 1 February 2017)

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