Handover-best wage rises marked for civil servants

Top News | Charlotte Luo 17 May 2019

Hong Kong's 173,000 civil servants are bound to enjoy slightly higher pay bumps this year, with high-ranking officers marked for a 4.58 percent increase. Staff in the middle and lower ranks are set to earn rises of 5.08 percent and 3.13 percent respectively.

The pay rises - recommended by the pay trend survey committee that includes representatives from business, professional sectors, government and the civil service - was announced yesterday after the salary and bonus changes of 160,000 employees of 108 companies were reviewed.

The raises of high-ranked employees in the private sector, according to the review, were 5.79 percent, while workers in the middle and low ranks got 6.29 and 5.32 percent.

The civil servants' increments this year marked the highest since the handover. Last year, civil servants had pay rises of between 4.06 and 4.51 percent.

Committee chairman Lee Luen-fai said the figures are higher than those of last year due to a better economy, prompting the private sector to pay more to retain talents.

Chinese Civil Servants' Association chairwoman Li Kwai-yin said calculating increments has always been a problem as different factors come into play, causing the net pay trend indicator to be "extraordinarily low." She said it is too early to say whether the rises would be acceptable.

Kalvin Ho Kai-ming, lawmaker representing the labor sector in the functional constituency, said more than 70,000 civil servants have reached the maximum salary and their actual salary increases have underperformed the market.

Ho said many contract staff - non-civil servants - have been employed for five to 10 years, but they cannot benefit from the increases.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung said this year's increments have reached a new high and the deduction arrangement would reduce the protection for civil servants.

He believes this arrangement is unfair to civil servants who have reached the maximum salary. Kwok said he had proposed exempting them from the arrangement, but the government has turned down his proposal.

Steven Wong Hung-lok, chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, said the proposed raises are reasonable and matches the pay rises in the private sector.

He said discussions with the association are needed before it could decide whether to endorse them.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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