Gov't to improve labour welfare

October 10, 2018

The labour force is an important asset to the development of Hong Kong, and the Government accords top priority to improve labour welfare, Chief Executive Carrie Lam says.


Presenting her second Policy Address at the Legislative Council today, Mrs Lam said the proposed labour-related policy initiatives aim to foster good labour relations and share the fruits of economic growth with all walks of life.


The first initiative concerns the abolition of the “offsetting” arrangement under the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme.


The Government put forth a preliminary idea on abolishing the arrangement in March, and the Secretary for Labour & Welfare has proactively met with key stakeholders to listen to their views on the preliminary idea.


After careful consideration, the Government has decided to further enhance support for employers by extending the period of the second-tier subsidy to 25 years.


Together with the 12-year first-tier subsidy, the financial commitment of the entire government subsidy scheme will be significantly increased to $29.3 billion.


Mrs Lam said she believes that the new arrangement can reduce the impact of abolishing the “offsetting” arrangement on micro and small and medium-sized enterprises.


The Government aims to secure the passage of enabling legislation by the LegCo within its current term and implement the abolition of the arrangement two years after the passage of the legislative amendments.


On occupational safety and health, the Government will strengthen the processing of employees’ compensation claims with enhanced Claims Support Services to facilitate settlement of work injury disputes. It will also enhance follow-up procedures for sick leave relating to work injury.


The Labour Department will conduct more in-depth surprise checks and set up an online platform for employees to report unsafe working environments.


Mrs Lam said employees of government service contractors are an important source of human resources in the provision of government services.


A review of the employment terms and labour benefits of non-skilled employees engaged by government service contractors has been completed and suggested improvements, including providing a contractual gratuity, will be introduced to relevant government service contracts tendered on or after next April.


The Chief Executive also noted individual sectors, particularly the elderly care service sector, have long been encountering human resources shortage and recruitment difficulties.


Given the increasing need for additional subsidised elderly care services, the Government will review the practical circumstances and determine when and how to implement the importation of carers.


Mrs Lam added the operation of the Navigation Scheme for Young Persons in Care Services, which equips trainees and helps the social welfare care sector attract young people will continue.


She also said support for foreign domestic helpers and protection of their labour rights will be enhanced.

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