Hong Kong's civil servants may get pay cuts of up to 2.04 percent this year, going by the recommendations of a panel that takes into consideration a host of factors including private sector salary movements in the city.
The 2021 Pay Trend Survey report, released on Tuesday, has suggested that the salaries of middle and lower-ranking civil servants be lowered by 0.54 percent and 0.68 percent respectively this year.
For the upper-ranking civil servants, the recommended pay cut is 2.04 percent.
However, the suggestion from the report is not final and is pending a decision by the Executive Council next Wednesday.
Last year, the net pay trend indicators for the upper, middle and lower salary bands were 1.68 percent, 1.98 percent and 1.15 percent respectively, but salaries of all civil servants last year have been frozen following a decision by the Executive Council.
It is also the first time in 11 years that government workers will not get a rise. In 2009, pay for lower- and mid-level civil servants were frozen while their higher-ranking colleagues took a 5.38 percent cut, in light of the weak economy after the global financial crisis.
Lee Luen-fai, chairman of the Pay Trend Survey Committee, said the numbers from this year’s report reflected that the city's economy was hit hard by the epidemic, with Hong Kong failing to reopen the borders and resume social activities.
He did not comment on whether a pay freeze would be a better move for the government, but stressed that no one would wanted to have a pay cut.
He also said the survey, which looked at salary and bonus changes for some 140,000 employees from 113 companies in the private sector so as to use them as a reference to decide pay changes for civil servants, is an effective practice.