Labour Advisory Board Report 2007-2008 Chapter 3. Major Activities
3.1 Introduction

  The Labour Advisory Board (LAB) met 12 times during the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2008. 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 seven items of labour legislation relating to the welfare of Hong Kong workers and endorsed six proposals. Details of the items and their position as at 31 December 2008 are listed below:

Business Registration Ordinance
  • To reduce the Business Registration Certificate levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund from $600 per annum to $450 per annum.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 10 October 2007.
    • The Business Registration Ordinance (Amendment: Levy Reduction) Order 2008, which sought to reduce the levy, was gazetted on 18 January 2008 and has come into operation with effect from 14 March 2008.
Employment Ordinance
  • To make technical modification to the proposed reinstatement / re-engagement provisions of the Employment Ordinance (EO).
    • The LAB endorsed on 10 December 2007 that the additional compensation for non-compliance with the proposed compulsory order of reinstatement / re-engagement should be in the form of a further sum set at three times the monthly wages of the concerned employee, subject to a maximum of $50,000.
Employment Ordinance
  • To enhance the enforcement of Labour Tribunal (LT) awards.
    • The LAB was earlier consulted on feasible measures to enhance the enforcement of LT awards. The proposal on making non-payment of LT awards a criminal offence was endorsed by the LAB on 10 December 2008.
Employees' Compensation Ordinance & Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) Ordinance
  • To maintain the amounts for various compensation items under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance and the Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) Ordinance (PCO) at their existing levels.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 10 October 2007.

Occupational Deafness (Compensation) Ordinance & Employees' Compensation Insurance Levies Ordinance
  • To improve the Occupational Deafness Compensation Scheme to enhance its benefits for persons with occupational deafness, and to adjust the rate and proportion of distribution of Employees' Compensation Insurance Levy payable under the Employees' Compensation Insurance Levies Ordinance.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 16 April 2008.

Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) Ordinance
  • To amend the PCO with a view to making cancerous mesothelioma a compensable disease under the ordinance.
    • Proposal was endorsed by the LAB on 10 October 2007.
    • The Pneumoconiosis (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 2008 was passed by the Legislative Council on 9 April 2008 and the amended provisions have come into operation with effect from 18 April 2008. The PCO has also been re-titled as the Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance.

Statutory Minimum Wage
  • To introduce legislation on a statutory minimum wage.
    • Following an agreement on 30 October 2007, the LAB has discussed on a series of practical issues relevant to the preparatory work for the possible introduction of a statutory minimum wage. It supported the introduction of a new wage survey and enhancement of a current business costs survey for such purpose.

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 noted the progress of the Employees' Compensation Insurance Residual Scheme. The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers agreed to the LAB's suggestion to conduct a mid-term review of the Scheme one year after its implementation and a comprehensive review after operating it for two years. A report on the mid-term review was issued by the Employees' Compensation Insurance Residual Scheme Bureau Limited in June 2008.
  • The LAB supported the proposal of a funding injection into the Pneumoconiosis Ex Gratia Fund to ensure the financial viability of the Pneumoconiosis Ex Gratia Scheme.
  • The LAB continued to gauge the progress of the Wage Protection Movement for Cleaning Workers and Security Guards (WPM). It noted the mid-term review of the WPM in October 2007 and visited buildings in Central & Western District and Sham Shui Po District in early 2008 to better understand the employment conditions of cleaning workers and security guards. The LAB agreed on the assessment criteria for the overall review proposed by the Administration, and subsequently conducted the overall review in October 2008.

    The Chairman of the LAB, Mrs Cherry TSE LING Kit-ching (2nd from left), and the LAB members visit a building in Central & Western District. The Chairman of the LAB, Mrs Cherry TSE LING Kit-ching (2nd from left), and the LAB members visit a building in Central & Western District.


  • The LAB noted the Labour Department's (LD) strengthened efforts in enforcing section 64B of the EO on the criminal liability of the responsible persons of a body corporate with regard to wage offences. It supported the findings of a review that there was no need to amend section 64B of the EO for the purpose of stepping up prosecution against the responsible persons of a body corporate for wage offences.
  • The LAB noted the results of a survey on "Benefits of employees under the Employment Ordinance" conducted by the Census and Statistics Department.
  • The LAB noted the "SME Sponsorship Scheme for Fall Arresting Equipment for Renovation and Maintenance Work" and the "Cut Resistant Gloves and Slip Resistant Shoes Sponsorship Scheme for SMEs in the Catering Industry" jointly launched by the LD and the Occupational Safety and Health Council.
  • The LAB noted the latest financial position of the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund which provides ex gratia payment to employees of insolvent employers.
  • The LAB noted the occupational safety performance of Hong Kong in 2007 and the first half of 2008.

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 gave its views on the healthcare reform consultation document on the future development of and financial arrangements for Hong Kong's healthcare system issued by the Food and Health Bureau.
  • The LAB gave its views on the Companies Ordinance consultation paper, launched by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, in respect of measures to improve provisions on company names, directors' duties, corporate directorship and registration of charges.
  • The LAB gave its views on the public consultation document for Code of Practice on Employment under the Race Discrimination Ordinance published by the Equal Opportunities Commission.

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 at technician level or below to take up jobs which cannot be filled locally. During the 2007-2008 term, the LAB vetted some 1 100 applications.

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

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.

The terms of reference, composition and membership of the working group are at Appendix VI.

3.6 Participating in the International Labour Conference

  Apart from advising the Commissioner for Labour on labour matters, LAB members also attend the annual International Labour Conference as part of the delegation of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

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.

The 96th Session of the International Labour Conference

The 96th Session of the International Labour Conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 30 May to 15 June 2007. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (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 Stanley NG Ka-kwong, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
(Employees' Rights and Benefits)
Mr HO Sai-chu, GBS, JP Hon IP Wai-ming, MH
Mr Charles HUI Pak-kwan
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Paul YIN Tek-shing, BBS, JP Ms NG Wai-yee
Ms Jenny WU Ching-han
Labour Officer
Mr Stanley LAU Chin-ho, MH, JP Mr CHENG Kai-ming
Miss Gloria KAM Wing-yin
Labour Officer


Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 96th Session of the International Labour Conference. Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 96th Session of the International Labour Conference.


Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Employees' Rights and Benefits), Mr Stanley NG Ka-kwong, meets the Executive Director of the Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector of the International Labour Office, Mr Kari TAPIOLA (left).

Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Employees' Rights and Benefits), Mr Stanley NG Ka-kwong, meets the Executive Director of the Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector of the International Labour Office, Mr Kari TAPIOLA (left).

The Vice Minister of the former Ministry of Labour and Social Security1; of the PRC, Mr HU Xiao-yi, addresses at the International Labour Conference. The Vice Minister of the former Ministry of Labour and Social Security¹ of the PRC, Mr HU Xiao-yi, addresses at the International Labour Conference.


The conference was attended by more than 3 000 government, employer and employee delegates and advisers from 180 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 Strengthening the ILO's Capacity and Committee on Sustainable Enterprises.

The 97th Session of the International Labour Conference

The 97th Session of the International Labour Conference was held in Geneva from 28 May to 13 June 2008. 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
Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, JP
Deputy Commissioner for Labour
(Labour Administration)
Mr HO Sai-chu, GBS, JP Mr LEUNG Chau-ting
Mr Charles HUI Pak-kwan
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Stanley LAU Chin-ho, MH, JP Mr CHUNG Kwok-sing
Miss Bonny WONG Wai-man
Senior Labour Officer
Mr CHEUNG Sing-hung, BBS Mr LEE Tak-ming
Miss Gloria KAM Wing-yin
Labour Officer

Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 97th Session of the International Labour Conference. Representatives of the HKSAR attend the 97th Session of the International Labour Conference.


Representatives of the HKSAR attend the plenary session of the International Labour Conference together with other members of the PRC delegation, including the Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ms ZHANG Ya-li (1st from right in front row) and Deputy Director-General of the Department, Mr JIANG Mo-hui (1st from right in back row), Vice President of China Enterprise Confederation, Mr CHEN Lan-tong (2nd from left in front row) and Director-General of the Department of International Liaison of All China Federation of Trade Unions, Mr JIANG Guang-ping (1st from left in front row).

Representatives of the HKSAR attend the plenary session of the International Labour Conference together with other members of the PRC delegation, including the Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ms ZHANG Ya-li (1st from right in front row) and Deputy Director-General of the Department, Mr JIANG Mo-hui (1st from right in back row), Vice President of China Enterprise Confederation, Mr CHEN Lan-tong (2nd from left in front row) and Director-General of the Department of International Liaison of All China Federation of Trade Unions, Mr JIANG Guang-ping (1st from left in front row).

Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Labour Administration), Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, introduces the youth employment initiatives of the LD to the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan SOMAVIA (left). Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Labour Administration), Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, introduces the youth employment initiatives of the LD to the Director-General of the International Labour Office, Mr Juan SOMAVIA (left).


The conference was attended by more than 4 000 government, employer and employee delegates and advisers from 182 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 Strengthening the ILO's Capacity, Committee on Rural Employment for Poverty Reduction and Committee on Skills Development.

3.7 Contacts with other Labour Administrations

  The LAB also maintained close liaison and interflow with other labour administrations.

January 2007

Visit by a PRC delegation

The Vice-Minister of the former Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the PRC, Ms HUA Fu-zhou, led a delegation to visit the HKSAR where she met LAB members to share each others' perspectives on some key labour issues.

June 2008

Study mission to the United Kingdom on statutory National Minimum Wage

In 2008, the LAB undertook to study the practical issues relevant to the preparatory work for possible introduction of a statutory minimum wage. With a view to collecting firsthand information on the implementation of minimum wage in the United Kingdom (UK), the LAB organised a study mission to the UK from 16 to 19 June 2008 to study its experience in implementing the statutory National Minimum Wage introduced since April 1999. Members of the study mission were:

Government
Officers
Employer Members
of the LAB
Employee Members
of the LAB
Mrs Jenny CHAN MAK Kit-ling, JP
Deputy Commissioner for Labour
(Labour Administration)
Mr HO Sai-chu, GBS, JP Mr LEUNG Chau-ting
Mr FONG Ngai
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
(Policy Support and Strategic Planning)
Mr Paul YIN Tek-shing, BBS, JP Hon IP Wai-ming, MH
Ms Reddy NG Wai-lan
Principal Economist
Financial Secretary's Office
Mr CHEUNG Sing-hung, BBS Ms NG Wai-yee
Mr Alvin LI Wing-kong, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Census and Statistics
Mr CHUNG Kwok-sing
Mr Ernest IP Yee-cheung
Senior Labour Officer
Mr LEE Tak-ming
Mr Andrew WAN Kin-wah
Labour Officer
Mr CHENG Kai-ming
Miss Gloria KAM Wing-yin
Labour Officer

Members of the study mission to the UK on statutory National Minimum Wage Members of the study mission to the UK on statutory National Minimum Wage


October 2008

Experience sharing session on the minimum wage system in Australia

The Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, Professor Ian HARPER, visited the HKSAR and held an experience sharing session on the minimum wage system in Australia with LAB members on 24 October 2008.

The Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, Professor Ian HARPER (left), and the Chairman of the LAB, Mrs Cherry TSE LING Kit-ching.

The Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, Professor Ian HARPER (left), and the Chairman of the LAB, Mrs Cherry TSE LING Kit-ching.

Professor Ian HARPER (1st from left) and LAB members at the experience sharing session. Professor Ian HARPER (1st from left) and LAB members at the experience sharing session.


3.8 Other Activities

  March 2008

Wage Protection Movement Commendation Ceremony cum Exhibition on Employment Ordinance

The Government launched the Wage Protection Movement for Cleaning Workers and Security Guards (WPM) in October 2006. As owners' corporation and owners' committees hired a sizeable number of cleaning workers and security guards, the LD stepped up efforts for promotion targeting at them. Moreover, to give due recognition for their support for the WPM, a commendation ceremony was held on 29 March 2008. LAB members were invited to participate in the event and present souvenir plaques at the commendation ceremony.

LAB members attend the Wage Protection Movement Commendation Ceremony cum Exhibition on Employment Ordinance. LAB members attend the Wage Protection Movement Commendation Ceremony cum Exhibition on Employment Ordinance.



|1 The Ministry of Labour and Social Security integrated with the Ministry of Personnel to become the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in early 2008.