Labour Advisory Board Report 2015-2016

Chapter 3
Activities in the 2015-2016 Term

3.1  Introduction
The Labour Advisory Board (LAB) met nine times during the period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 to advise on labour legislation, administrative measures on labour matters as well as other issues.
 
3.2  Consultation on Labour Legislation
LAB discussed five items of labour legislation. Details of the items and their progress are listed below:

Special Holiday (3 September 2015) Ordinance
  • To designate 3 September 2015 as a one-off holiday
    • After consulting LAB and the Legislative Council (LegCo) Panel on Manpower (Panel), the Government introduced the Special Holiday (3 September 2015) Bill into LegCo on 27 May 2015 to designate 3 September 2015 (i.e. the 70th anniversary day of the victory of the Chinese people’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression) as a one-off statutory holiday (SH) and general holiday (GH).
    • The Bill was passed by LegCo on 9 July 2015.

Employment Ordinance
  • To study SHs and GHs taken by employees
    • In response to the call of the labour sector for aligning the number of days of SHs with that of GHs, the Labour Department (LD) commissioned the Census and Statistics Department to conduct a survey on employees taking SHs and GHs in Hong Kong. LD reported the findings of the survey to LAB and the Panel in 2015. LD also brought up the issue of increasing the number of SHs for discussion at several LAB meetings and listened to the views of members.

  • To review the implementation of statutory paternity leave (PL)
    • Based on the consensus of LAB and upon the passage of the relevant bill by LegCo, statutory PL commenced operation from 27 February 2015. An eligible male employee is entitled to three days’ paid PL for each incident of birth of his child.
    • LD briefed LAB and the Panel on the implementation of statutory PL and consulted them on the planned review in May 2016. LD has started the review and will report to LAB and the Panel the outcome when the review is completed.

  • To amend the reinstatement and re-engagement provisions
    • Based on the consensus of LAB, the Government introduced the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2016 into LegCo on 2 March 2016. The Bill sought to amend the reinstatement and re-engagement provisions so as to enhance protection for employees in circumstances of unreasonable and unlawful dismissal. LegCo formed a Bills Committee to scrutinise the Bill. As members of the Bills Committee expressed various views on the Bill, the Government, in accordance with the standing practice, passed these views to LAB for consideration.
    • After detailed discussions, LAB proposed that the ceiling for the further sum to be paid to the employee by the employer in the event of failing to comply with an order for reinstatement or re-engagement should be raised from $50,000 under the original proposal to $72,500. The Government introduced the revised Bill into LegCo on 17 May 2017.

Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, Pneumoconiosis and Mesothelioma (Compensation) Ordinance and Occupational Deafness (Compensation) Ordinance
  • To increase the amounts of a total of 18 compensation items under the three Ordinances based on the relevant information for 2014 to 2015
    • The compensation levels are adjusted every two years where appropriate according to the established mechanism. Adjustments, if required, are generally made by reference to the changes in the wage and price levels and other relevant factors in the relevant period.
    • LAB endorsed the proposal to adjust upwards the amounts of 18 compensation items by 5.68% to 10.84%.
    • The relevant resolutions were passed by LegCo on 1 March 2017. The new levels of compensation took effect on 1 April 2017.
 
3.3  Consultation on Administrative Measures on Labour Matters
LAB was briefed or consulted on the following administrative measures on labour matters:
  • items pertaining to labour in the 2015 Policy Address and the 2016 Policy Address;
  • new measures under the Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS) to enhance flexibility in deployment of imported skilled workers for public sector works contracts;
  • services provided by the Construction Industry Recruitment Centre set up by LD in January 2016; and
  • the public consultation of “Retirement Protection Forging Ahead” by the Commission on Poverty, including the offsetting arrangement of severance payment and long service payment with the mandatory provident fund (MPF) contributions.
 
3.4  Consultation on Other Legislation and Measures
  • LAB noted and gave its views on the proposal of introducing an automatic mechanism for adjustment of the minimum and maximum levels of relevant income under MPF schemes by the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority.
  • LAB noted and gave its views on the Financial Institutions (Resolution) Bill as consulted by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Department of Justice, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
  • LAB noted and gave its views on the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill 2015 as consulted by FSTB.
 
3.5  Supplementary Labour Scheme
Operating on the principle of according employment priority to local workers, the Government approves the importation of workers at technician level or below under SLS only if employers cannot recruit local workers to fill the relevant job vacancies. LD invites LAB members’ views on applications under SLS, before the Commissioner for Labour approves or refuses the relevant applications. During the 2015-2016 term, LAB provided views on 1 834 applications for labour importation.

To ensure effective attainment of the policy objective of SLS, a working group on SLS has been formed under LAB. The terms of reference, composition and membership of the working group are at Appendix VI.
 
3.6  Participating in the International Labour Conference
LAB members attend the annual International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the delegation of the People’s Republic of China. The Conference provides a valuable forum for LAB members to exchange views, share experience and establish contacts with delegates from different Members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The 104th Session of the International Labour Conference

The 104th Session of the International Labour Conference was held from 1 to 13 June 2015. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) sent a tripartite team to the Conference as part of the delegation of the People’s Republic of China. Members of the tripartite team were:

Government
Representatives
Employer
Representatives
Employee
Representatives
Mr Donald Tong Chi Keung, JP
Commissioner for Labour
The Honourable
Ho Sai Chu, GBM, GBS, JP
Mr Stanley Ng Chau Pei
Ms Mabel Li Po Yi, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
The late
Mr Stanley Lau Chin Ho,
SBS, MH, JP
Mr Chau Siu Chung
Ms Samantha Lam Yick Wah
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Irons Sze, BBS, JP Ms Wong Siu Han
Ms Sharon Lo Suet Ching
Labour Officer
Mr Jimmy Wong Lik Sang
Assistant Labour Officer I
 
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference
 
More than 4 500 government, employer and employee delegates representing 169 Members of ILO participated in the Conference. HKSAR representatives attended the plenary sessions of the Conference and meetings of the Committee on the Application of Standards, Committee on the Transition from the Informal Economy, Committee on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Employment Creation, Committee for the Recurrent Discussion on Social Protection (Labour Protection) and the World of Work Summit.

The 105th Session of the International Labour Conference

The 105th Session of the International Labour Conference was held from 30 May to 10 June 2016. HKSAR also sent a tripartite team to the Conference as part of the delegation of the People’s Republic of China. Members of the tripartite team were:

Government
Representatives
Employer
Representatives
Employee
Representatives
Mr Byron Ng Kwok Keung, JP
Deputy Commissioner for Labour
The Honourable Ho Sai Chu, GBM, GBS, JP Mr Leung Chau Ting
Mr Charles Hui Pak Kwan, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
Mr Emil Yu Chen On Mr Charles Chan Yiu Kwong
Ms Samantha Lam Yick Wah
Senior Labour Officer
Mr Cheung Sing Hung, BBS Ms Rose Chan So Hing
Ms Nancy Tang Mei Lan
Labour Officer
Ms Sharon Lo Suet Ching
Labour Officer
 
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference
 
The Conference was attended by some 6 000 government, employer and employee delegates representing 187 Members of ILO. HKSAR representatives attended the plenary sessions of the Conference and meetings of the Committee on the Application of Standards, Committee on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains, Committee on Employment and Decent Work for the Transition to Peace, Committee for the Social Justice Declaration and the World of Work Summit.
 
3.7  Participating in the 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of ILO
The 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of ILO was held in Bali, Indonesia from 6 to 9 December 2016. APRM was held periodically to discuss matters and problems specific to the region. HKSAR sent a tripartite team to attend the Meeting in the name of “Hong Kong, China”. Members of the tripartite team were:
Government
Representatives
  Employer
Representatives
  Employee
Representatives
Ms Mabel Li Po Yi, JP
Assistant Commissioner for Labour
  Mr Jimmy Kwok Chun Wah, BBS, MH, JP   Ms Wong Siu Han
Ms Eva Chan Kit Ying
Labour Officer
       
 
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of ILO
Representatives of HKSAR attending the 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of ILO
 
Some 350 delegates representing governments, employers and employees from 37 countries / regions attended the Meeting. HKSAR representatives attended the plenary sittings, high-level dialogue, information session and special plenary debates of the Meeting.