Civil staff up for doubly sweet pay rises

Top News | Riley Chan 17 May 2018

More than 170,000 civil servants are in for higher pay rises this year on the economic boom.

The Pay Trend Survey Committee recommended pay rises of between 2.84 percent and 4.51 percent this fiscal year, more than double last year's increases.

The pay rises are based on a survey of 112 private companies covering about 157,000 employees from April 2 last year to April 1 this year.

Lower-ranked staff earning below HK$21,880 a month are recommended to get an average rise of 4.89 percent, while for middle-ranked personnel earning HK$21,880 to HK$67,065 it is 5.63 percent.

For top staff earning HK$67,066 or above it is 5.25 percent, said the committee's report issued yesterday.

After deducting the payroll cost of increments, the actual pay rises recommended for civil servants would be 2.84 percent for the lower salary band, 4.51 percent for the middle band and 4.06 for the upper band.

Those figures are much higher than last year's 1.38 percent to 2.44 percent - the lowest since 2010.

Committee chairman Wilfred Wong Kam-pui reckoned the increments are "quite good" this year, and they reflected a better local economy.

The pay rises are not finalized. Employee representatives need to consult members and the committee will meet next week to validate the results.

The Civil Service Bureau will then submit the recommendations to the Executive Council, which will make the final decision.

The chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, Steven Wong Hung-lok, said the pay increases are acceptable.

But he said since the government hired more people in the past year, the payroll cost of increments is higher, which resulted in smaller pay rises.

He suggested capping the payroll cost of increment at 10 percent of the gross pay trend indicators.

Wong's concern was shared by the chairwoman of the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association, Li Kwai-yin, who said the record high payroll cost of increment this year is abnormal.

But Alexa Chow Yee-ping, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, called the suggestion of setting a cap "cherry picking."

She said the calculation method is effective and people and the government would not accept the suggestion.

Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a member of the Panel on Public Service, said the existing calculation method is unfair to civil servants who have reached the maximum point of the pay scales.

She also said the recommended pay rise for junior civil servants is lower than the inflation rate, which is "hard to accept."

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