Standard Working Hours

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Introduction

After the implementation of statutory minimum wage in Hong Kong, many people urge the government to have law about standard working hours as employers may use non-paid overtime as a means to minimize the labor cost in order to offset the increase of labor costs caused by the minimum wage. First of all, we would like to talk about the definition of setting a standard working hour. The idea is to set a standard working hour per week. If employees’ working hours are longer than the standard one, employers have to pay additional bonus for the extra working hours.

Reason for having standard working hours
Regardless of a follow-up action for minimum wage policy, it can ensure better health for employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance stipulate that employers must ensure the occupational safety and health of their employees.  Yet, the problem of long working hour is severe. Taking accounting field as an example, it is common for us to hear the employees in “Big Four” have sudden health because of long working hours. Setting up standard working hours can discourage employers to ask employees to have overtime so that employees can have more resting time and more job opportunities may be created as employers may need more workforce to avoid employees having overtime (can’t think of any rebuttal, strong point). Worries from Business sector (EMPLOYERS PERSPECTIVE)

Currently, seven of the city’s biggest business chambers have sent a rare joint letter to the government expressing their concerns about this issue. They claimed that this policy may hurt the economic environment in Hong Kong since their labor costs will further increase (increase in labour cost due to the need to employ more workers to compensate for the reduction in working hours per worker. This might involve an increase in wages, administration cost, cost of training etc. Additional cost and resources needed *“Lau Chin-ho, a deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong...
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