Recently, there has been a debate on the subject of a statutory minimum wage. Different parties have different point of views about it. The unionists believe setting a higher amount can help to reduce the continuously increased wealth gap in Hong Kong, but the businessmen worry that it will increase the operating costs of their businesses. I will discuss the pros and cons of a statutory minimum wage in the following paragraphs. For the advantages, firstly, a minimum wage can force employers to offer reasonable salaries to their employees and give them guidelines on how rational salaries should be set. This can help to protect employees from being exploited. Secondly, the problem of income inequality can be addressed by increasing low-income groups’ salaries so that it can help to promote social justice and greatly improve social harmony and stability. Moreover, the policy can encourage the unemployed citizens to rejoin the work force and thus reduce the burden on the government. Although there are many advantages of setting a minimum wage, there are some drawbacks too. The unemployment rate may rise after implementing the minimum wage law. Due to the increase of operating costs or production costs, some employers may lay off their staff. And it may discourage employees to improve their working attitude and skills as their wages are protected under the statutory minimum wage system, working incentive may thus become low. When we talk about the level of a statutory minimum wage, we have a lot to concerned about, for example, the economic situation, GDP etc. I think the living standard is very high in Hong Kong at present, so the level of a statutory minimum wage should be high enough to meet a family’s daily expenses. At the same time, we should also consider the financial burden on the employers. If not, laying off staff or even closing down the businesses may be the result. The government, therefore, should consider all these issues, think twice and make a wise decision. From - http://www.tkp.edu.hk/newsletter/archives/2610
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (勞工及福利局長張建宗) explained how the members of the Provisional Minimum Wage Commission (臨時最低工資委員會) came to be agreed on the initial statutory minimum wage rate. According to him, they considered four main criteria:
1. it should not be too low;
2. it would not cause low-paid jobs to disappear in large numbers; 3. it would not inhibit economic development;
4. it would not significantly damage Hong Kong's competitive advantages.
To protect labour rights, Hong Kong may need not only minimum wage legislation but also standard working hours legislation (標準工時立法). The Legislative Council has adopted a motion to call for the enactment of such a law. To encourage underprivileged citizens and low-income employees living in remote districts to find work or stay in employment, the government launched in 2007 a pilot transport support scheme (交通費支援計劃). Under the scheme, eligible citizens have been provided with time-limited transport allowances. The Labour Department (勞工處) is responsible for protecting other labour rights enshrined in various pieces of labour legislation (such as the Employment Ordinance (《僱傭條例》)).
Minimum wage a issue for people to decide: Hong Kong chief
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang on Friday continued to defend his decision not to legislate on the controversial minimum- wage issue in his latest Policy Address.
Speaking on RTHK Friday, two days after presenting his Policy Address, Tsang said he did not want to see the issue dealt with in court as some legislators have said they would press ahead with plans to seek a judicial review after the government decided not to legislate for a minimum wage at the moment.
"It is a matter for the people to decide, not the courts," Tsang told a call-in radio show Friday morning. "I think we...