By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
After 41 consecutive hours of debate, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the minimum wage bill in the early morning of July 18 this year. Since it is only a framework law, the Hong Kong Government still has to continue to work on the minimum wage levels, which is the most challenging part of the entire system.
According to news reports, the Provisional Minimum Wage Commission is looking at the hourly wage level ranging from HKD 28 to HKD 30. But various workers’ associations vow that protests may be staged if it is set below HKD 33.
Unless specified, the bill covers all employees, including those hired for summer jobs. Internship work, no matter whether or not it is mandatory for the courses, won’t enjoy a minimum wage if it is less than 60 days and the full-time college students are under 26 years old.
Also, local and foreign domestic helpers aren’t included in the bill, and disabled people can receive a productivity assessment on a voluntary basis and then have the proportion of minimum wage determined based on the results.
In addition, the minimum wage levels will be reviewed at least once every two years, but the legislature won’t have the power to adjust the levels but can support or veto the revision.