On July 17, 2010, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Minimum Wage Ordinance (the Ordinance), which will introduce a statutory minimum wage on a day yet to be appointed but expected to be in the first half of 2011. The Ordinance provides for a minimum wage at an hourly rate for certain employees. Although most employees in Hong Kong are paid on a monthly basis, the minimum wage has been set by reference to an hourly rate so as to ensure that employees’ pay corresponds to the amount of time they work.
The following categories of employees are exempted from the minimum wage requirements:
- Student interns and students undertaking work experience
- Somestic workers who live in the household in which they work free of charge
The Ordinance requires employers to keep records of the total number of hours worked by employees who earn less than a specified amount (which will be set out in a schedule to the Employment Ordinance). These records must be kept in a single document alongside other general employment records. Any provision in an employment contract which purports to extinguish or reduce any right, benefit or protection conferred on the employee by the Ordinance is void.
A Minimum Wage Commission will be established to make recommendations to the HK Government as to the appropriate level of the minimum wage which is to be reviewed at least once every two years. It has been reported that the Provisional Minimum Wage Commission has initially proposed a minimum wage of around HK $28 per hour.