Frequently Asked Questions about
The Minimum Wage Ordinance, Cap. 608
Coverage

Q1 : What is the coverage of statutory minimum wage (SMW)?
A1 :

SMW applies to all employees, whether they are monthly-rated, weekly-rated, daily-rated, hourly-rated, piece-rated, permanent, casual, full-time, part-time or other employees, and regardless of whether or not they are employed under a continuous contract (Note 1) as defined in the Employment Ordinance, with the following exceptions:

* persons to whom the Employment Ordinance does not apply(Note 2)
* live-in domestic workers(Note 3)
* student interns as well as work experience students during a period of exempt student employment

 

Note 1: According to the Employment Ordinance, an employee who has been employed continuously by the same employer for four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked in each week is regarded as being employed under a continuous contract.

Note 2:The Employment Ordinance does not apply to : (a) a family member who lives in the same dwelling as the employer; (b) an employee as defined in the Contracts for Employment Outside Hong Kong Ordinance; (c) a person serving under a crew agreement under the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Ordinance, or on board a ship which is not registered in Hong Kong; (d) an apprentice whose contract of apprenticeship has been registered under the Apprenticeship Ordinance. As for (d), while certain provisions of the Employment Ordinance apply to registered apprentices, SMW is not applicable.

Note 3:This refers to domestic workers (including domestic helpers, carers, chauffeurs, gardeners, boat-boys or other personal helpers) who dwell free of charge in their employing household, irrespective of their sex or race.

 

Q2 :

What kinds of student interns and work experience students are exempted from SMW?

A2 :

SMW does not apply to student interns as well as work experience students during a period of exempt student employment.  Details are as follows:

Student interns

A student intern is:

* a student undergoing a period of work arranged or endorsed by a local education institution specified in Schedule 1 to the Minimum Wage Ordinance, and the work is a compulsory or elective component of the requirements of a full-time accredited programme being provided by the institution to the student; or
* a student resident in Hong Kong and undergoing a period of work arranged or endorsed by an institution, and the work is a compulsory or elective component of the requirements of a full-time education programme for a non-local academic qualification at degree or higher level being provided by the institution to the student.

Work experience students during a period of exempt student employment

A work experience student is:

* a student who is enrolled in a full-time accredited programme provided by a local education institution specified in Schedule 1 to the Minimum Wage Ordinance; or
* a student who is resident in Hong Kong and enrolled in a full-time education programme for a non-local academic qualification at degree or higher level

and is under the age of 26 years at the beginning of employment.  The work experience student may agree with the employer to have a continuous period of up to 59 days (Note) as exempt student employment if :

(a) the student has not commenced another exempt student employment period within the same calendar year (Note) (whether under the employment of the same employer or not); and
(b) the student has made a statutory declaration verifying the fact in (a) above and provided the declaration (or copy) to the employer.

The Labour Department has published a booklet on Statutory Minimum Wage: Notes for Student Employees and Employers on the details of the exemption.

Note: This does not include any employment period before the commencement date of SMW (i.e. 1 May 2011).

 

Q3 :

Does SMW apply to employees with disabilities?

A3 :

SMW applies to employees with disabilities and able-bodied employees alike. Therefore, employees with disabilities are also entitled to wages at not lower than the SMW rate. In order to strike a balance between providing wage protection to employees with disabilities and safeguarding their employment opportunities, a special arrangement is provided under the Minimum Wage Ordinance so that employees with disabilities whose productivity may be impaired by their disabilities have the right to choose to undergo a productivity assessment to determine whether they should be remunerated at not lower than the SMW level or at a rate commensurate with their productivity. The right to invoke assessment is entirely vested in the employees with disabilities.

The Labour Department has published reference materials on productivity assessment for employees with disabilities to explain the details of this special arrangement.