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Good foundation:  Senior Labour Officer (Statutory Minimum Wage) Queenie Tang says the statutory minimum wage provides a wage floor to protect grassroots employees.

Minimum wage protects grassroots staff

April 29, 2011
The statutory minimum wage, with its initial hourly rate of $28, will come into force on May 1, setting a new precedent in Hong Kong’s labour protection.
 
In an interview with news.gov.hk, Senior Labour Officer (Statutory Minimum Wage) Queenie Tang said the statutory minimum wage provides a wage floor to protect grassroots employees.
 
“The principle of launching statutory minimum wage is to strike a reasonable balance between forestalling excessively low wages and minimising the loss of low-paid jobs while sustaining Hong Kong’s economic growth and competitiveness.”
 
According to the Minimum Wage Ordinance, wages payable to an employee in respect of any wage period, when averaged over the total number of hours worked during the wage period, should be no less than the statutory minimum wage rate.


Statutory minimum wage applies to all employees, whether they are monthly-rated, daily-rated, permanent, casual, full-time, part-time or other employees, and regardless of whether or not they are employed under a continuous contract as defined in the Employment Ordinance, with the following exceptions:
* live-in domestic workers; and,
* student interns as well as specified work experience students.
 
The Labour Department has prepared detailed reference guidelines to explain to employers and employees in simple terms, supplemented by examples, the provisions and the application of the Minimum Wage Ordinance.
 
“We have included relatively common examples to cover different situations in the reference guidelines to facilitate employers and employees in understanding the Minimum Wage Ordinance and its application. We are working at full steam to prepare for the implementation of the statutory minimum wage. We have launched a wide range of publicity and promotional activities to enhance employers’ and employees’ understanding of the new legislation, including organising seminars and preparing a large quantity of posters and leaflets.”
 
The public can obtain the leaflets and reference guidelines at District Offices of the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department and at the department’s website. They can also call the 24-hour hotline 2717 1771 (handled by the 1823 Call Centre) for enquiries.
 
“The department will continue its publicity drive to help the public understand the ordinance,” she added.
 
(Part 1 of Statutory Minimum Wage series)

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