CHAPTER 3
Major Activities


3.1

Introduction
The Labour Advisory Board (LAB) met 13 times during the period from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2006. The Chairman of the LAB consulted members on labour legislation, administrative and enforcement measures on labour matters as well as other issues.

   

3.2

Consultation on Labour Legislation
The LAB discussed four items of labour legislation relating to the welfare of Hong Kong workers and endorsed four proposals. Details of the endorsed items and their position as at 31 December 2006 are listed below:

  • To raise the maximum penalty under section 63C of the Employment Ordinance (EO) from a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for one year to a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 6 October 2005.
    • The Employment (Increase in Penalty for Offences under Section 63C) Bill 2005 was passed by the Legislative Council (LegCo) on 11 January 2006. The Commencement Notice of the ordinance was gazetted on 27 January 2006. The ordinance came into operation on 30 March 2006.

  • To recognise Chinese medicine under labour legislation.
    • The LAB endorsed some proposed technical amendments on 10 January 2005.
    • The Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2005 was passed by the LegCo on 28 June 2006. The provisions in relation to the EO came into operation on 1 December 2006.

  • To amend the EO to avoid the interpretation that wages do not include commission of a contractual nature in the calculation of statutory entitlements under the ordinance; and to improve the existing mode of calculation of these statutory entitlements.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 22 August 2006.
    • The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2006 was gazetted on 8 December 2006. The LegCo has formed a Bills Committee to scrutinise the bill.

  • To maintain the amounts for various compensation items under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance and the Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) Ordinance at their existing levels.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 6 October 2005.


3.3

Consultation on Administrative / Enforcement Measures on Labour Matters
The LAB was consulted on the following administrative / enforcement measures on labour matters:

  • The LAB continued to study and discuss the issues relating to the establishment of a minimum wage and standard working hours in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

  • The LAB discussed the Government's strategy adopted for the Wage Protection Movement for cleaning workers and security guards, which included promoting the movement through various media channels and securing support from the business sector and owners' corporations. Employers were encouraged to undertake to pay their cleaning workers and security guards wages not lower than the relevant average market rates as published in the Census and Statistics Department's "Quarterly Report of Wage and Payroll Statistics", and to enter into written employment contracts with these workers.

  • The LAB agreed to the proposal of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers to test run the residual scheme with a view to improving the employees' compensation insurance system in the HKSAR.

  • The LAB agreed that the Labour Department (LD) could further study the feasibility of excluding persons who are not lawfully employable from the coverage of the Employees Compensation Assistance Ordinance.

  • The LAB supported the strategy and actions adopted by the Administration to prevent abuse of the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund, which included tightening the law, targeting investigations, stepping up prosecution, and strengthening intelligence gathering, publicity and promotion.

  • The LAB agreed to give priority to the review of the following three items: possible measures to assist employees to recover their entitlements in defaulted Labour Tribunal awards; the provisions on "continuous contract" under the EO; and Section 64B of the EO to enhance the deterrent effect against wage offences.

  • The LAB agreed to test run the Manpower Development Plan for Textiles and Clothing Industry. The plan aimed at addressing the manpower needs for skilled workers by manufacturers of textiles and clothing industry in the HKSAR and easing their immediate manpower shortage.

  • The LAB noted LD's employment services provided for young people and the department's plan of setting up two Youth Employment Resource Centres to provide one-stop advisory and support services for the employment and self-employment of young people.

3.4

Consultation on Other Legislation / Measures
The LAB was briefed or consulted on other legislation or measures of relevance to labour matters, as given below:

  • The LAB was briefed on the arrangements of the Working Holiday Scheme, a bilateral agreement signed by the Government of the HKSAR separately with the Governments of New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. The scheme aimed at enabling young people aged between 18 and 30 to gain valuable experience while holidaying and working abroad, which should strengthen their self-confidence, resilience and inter-personal skills.

  • The LAB gave its views on the proposed amendments to the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (General) Regulation to improve the existing investment regulations in respect of Mandatory Provident Fund funds.

  • The LAB gave its views on whether a smoking ban should be imposed on communal accommodation provided by employers for employees.

3.5

Monitoring the Supplementary Labour Scheme
The LAB is responsible for monitoring the Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS) and vetting applications for importation of labour submitted thereunder. Operating on the principle of according priority of employment to local workers, the SLS allows the entry of imported workers to take up jobs which cannot be filled locally. During the 2005-2006 term, the LAB vetted some 800 applications.

3.6 Since August 1996, a working group on the SLS has been formed under the LAB to consider vetting guidelines for the processing of applications under the SLS and to discuss application cases for which members have differing views during vetting.

3.7 To ensure the effective attainment of the policy objective of the SLS, the Government, in consultation with the LAB, regularly reviews the operation of the SLS.
3.8 The terms of reference, composition and membership of the working group are at Appendix VI.
   

3.9

Participating in International Labour Conference
Apart from advising the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour) on labour matters, LAB members also attended the annual International Labour Conference as part of the delegation of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

3.10 The conference provides a valuable forum for LAB members to meet with delegates from different member States of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) so as to exchange views, share experience and establish contacts, thereby enhancing their exposure to and understanding of international labour issues.
   

3.11

The 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference
The 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 31 May to 16 June 2005. The HKSAR sent a tripartite team to the conference as part of the PRC delegation. Members of the team were:

Government
Representatives
Employer
Representatives
Employee
Representatives
Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, JP
Permanent Secretary for
Economic Development
and Labour (Labour)
Mr HO Sai-chu, SBS, JP   Mr POON Siu-ping, MH
Mr FUNG Ying-lun, MH
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Anthony YEUNG Kwok-ki, JP   Ms WONG Siu-han
Mr Stephen LEUNG Mak-kwan
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Clement CHEN Cheng-jen, JP   Mr IP Wai-ming
Miss Carrie CHANG Kar-wai
Senior Administrative Officer
Ms Teresa FONG Yuk-sim
Labour Officer
Mrs Mary CHENG CHAN Oi-lin
Labour Officer


The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), and LAB members attend the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference.   The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), and LAB members attend the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference.


Government representatives of the HKSAR meet the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan Somavia (3rd from left).   Government representatives of the HKSAR meet the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan Somavia (3rd from left).


The Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr WANG Dong-jin (left), the Vice Chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Mr XU Zhen-huan (middle), and the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, attend the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference.   The Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr WANG Dong-jin (left), the Vice Chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Mr XU Zhen-huan (middle), and the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, attend the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference.

3.12 The conference was attended by more than 3 000 government, employer and employee delegates and advisers from 178 member States of the ILO. The HKSAR representatives attended the plenary sessions of the conference and meetings of the Committee on the Application of Standards, Committee on the Fishing Sector, Committee on Youth Employment and Committee on Safety and Health.
   

3.13

The 95th Session of the International Labour Conference
The 95th Session of the International Labour Conference was held in Geneva from 31 May to 16 June 2006. The HKSAR also sent a tripartite team to the conference as part of the PRC delegation. Members of the team were:

Government
Representatives
  Employer
Representatives
  Employee
Representatives
Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, JP
Permanent Secretary for
Economic Development
and Labour (Labour)
   Mr HO Sai-chu, SBS, JP    Mr Felix CHEUNG Kwok-bui
Mr Alan WONG Kwok-lun, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
   Mr Paul YIN Tek-shing, BBS    Mr LEUNG Chau-ting
Mr FUNG Ying-lun, MH
Senior Labour Officer
   Mr Stanley LAU Chin-ho, MH, JP    Mr CHEUNG Pak-chi, MH
Mrs Tonia LEUNG SO Suk-ching
Senior Labour Officer
     
Miss Carrie CHANG Kar-wai
Senior Administrative Officer
     
Ms Femia LAU Pik-yiu
Labour Officer
     
Ms Catherine LAW Sui-fong
Labour Officer


Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference.   Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference.


Representatives of the HKSAR attending the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference meet the Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr TIAN Cheng-ping (5th from left), the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the PRC to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr SHA Zu-kang (4th from right), and the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Ms HUA Fu-zhou (2nd from right).   Representatives of the HKSAR attending the 95th Session of the International Labour Conference meet the Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr TIAN Cheng-ping (5th from left), the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the PRC to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr SHA Zu-kang (4th from right), and the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Ms HUA Fu-zhou (2nd from right).


The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, meets the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan Somavia (left).   The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung, meets the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan Somavia (left).

3.14 The conference was attended by some 4 000 government, employer and employee delegates and advisers from 178 member States of the ILO. The HKSAR representatives attended the plenary sessions of the conference and meetings of the Committee on the Application of Standards, Committee on Safety and Health, Committee on Employment Relationship and Committee on Technical Cooperation.
   

3.15

Participating in the 14th Asian Regional Meeting of the ILO
Apart from participating in the annual International Labour Conference, LAB members also attended the 14th Asian Regional Meeting (ARM) of the ILO in 2006.

3.16 At four-year intervals, the ARM brings together the political, economic and social actors from countries in Asia and the Pacific as well as the Arab States in West Asia. LAB members participated in this regional platform for sharing experience, understanding the developments of international labour standards and networking.

3.17 The 14th ARM was held in Busan, Korea from 29 August to 1 September. A tripartite team from the HKSAR attended the meeting in the name of "Hong Kong, China". Members of the team were:

Government
Representatives
  Employer
Representatives
  Employee
Representatives
Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
   Mr Paul YIN Tek-shing, BBS    Mr Felix CHEUNG Kwok-bui
Miss Cindy YIM Lai-kwan
Senior Labour Officer
   Mr Stanley LAU Chin-ho, MH, JP    Ms WONG Siu-han
Miss Grace CHAN Wing-han
Labour Officer
     
Miss Christina WONG Lai-heung
Labour Officer
     


The HKSAR representatives outside the meeting.   The HKSAR representatives outside the meeting.


The Assistant Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, delivers a speech at the plenary session.   The Assistant Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, delivers a speech at the plenary session.


The Assistant Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, meets the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr HU Xiao-yi (right).   The Assistant Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, meets the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr HU Xiao-yi (right).
   

3.18

Contacts with ILO and Other Labour Administrations
The LAB also maintained close liaison and interflow with ILO officials and other labour administrations.

March 2005

The Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr WANG Dongjin (middle in the front row), leads a delegation to visit the HKSAR and meet LAB members.   The Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Mr WANG Dongjin (middle in the front row), leads a delegation to visit the HKSAR and meet LAB members.

April 2005
The Director of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia, Ms Constance Thomas (left in upper photo), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on The Future Outlook of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia with Special Emphasis on Promoting Tripartism.
The Director of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia, Ms Constance Thomas (left in upper photo), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on "The Future Outlook of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia with Special Emphasis on Promoting Tripartism".

  The Director of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia, Ms Constance Thomas (left in upper photo), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on The Future Outlook of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia with Special Emphasis on Promoting Tripartism.
The Director of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia, Ms Constance Thomas (left in upper photo), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on The Future Outlook of the ILO Office for China and Mongolia with Special Emphasis on Promoting Tripartism.

April 2006
The Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the ILO, Dr NG Gek-boo (left), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on Realising Decent Work in Asia.   The Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the ILO, Dr NG Gek-boo (left), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on "Realising Decent Work in Asia".

The Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the ILO, Dr NG Gek-boo (left), visits the HKSAR and discusses with LAB members on Realising Decent Work in Asia.

September 2006
The former Chairman of the Low Pay Commission and the Pensions Commission in the United Kingdom, Adair Lord Turner of Ecchinswell (left), visits the HKSAR and meets LAB members.   The former Chairman of the Low Pay Commission and the Pensions Commission in the United Kingdom, Adair Lord Turner of Ecchinswell (left), visits the HKSAR and meets LAB members.
   

3.19

Seminar on Good People Management Practices
In June 2005, the LAB and the LD jointly organised the Seminar on Good People Management Practices to promote good people management practices and corporate social responsibility. The seminar was successfully held with 350 participants. The event conveyed the message that a good employer must also be a good corporate citizen willing to shoulder corporate social responsibility.

The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), and LAB members co-officiate at the Seminar on Good People Management Practices.   The Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour), Mr Matthew CHEUNG Kin-chung (middle), and LAB members co-officiate at the Seminar on Good People Management Practices.