on 28 October 1996
LegCo Panel on Manpower
the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance
This paper reports on the implementation of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance ("the Ordinance").
2. The Ordinance was enacted in November 1994 to provide for a licensing scheme to promote higher standards in the security industry, thereby aiding the fight against crime. The Ordinance, which came into full effect on 1 June 1996, requires all individuals and companies engaged in security work to apply for valid permits and licences respectively. It replaces the Watchmen Ordinance , the only legislation governing the industry then, which requires watchmen to apply to the Commissioner of Police for watchmans permits. Under the Ordinance, an independent Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority ("the Authority") was established on 1 June 1995 to issue licences to security companies and determine the criteria for issuing permits to security personnel.
Employment of Security Guards over the Age of 65
3. In enacting the Ordinance and promoting the standard of the security industry, the Administration is mindful of the need to ensure that the employment of aged security guards are not unduly affected. In line with the criteria for issuing security personnel permit (Annex A) which were determined by the Authority and approved by Legislative Council in July 1995, those over 65 can apply for a Category A permit and work in single private residential buildings i.e. buildings with one main access point and used substantially for residential purpose. This covers a large proportion of residential buildings in Hong Kong. There is no upper age limit for watchmen working in this type of buildings but on reaching the age of 70, they will need to undergo a biennial examination to prove that they are physically fit for the job.
4. Section 33 of the Ordinance further provides a transitional arrangement which enables holders of watchmans permits issued under the Watchmen Ordinance who are over the age of 65 to continue their service in all types of buildings, until they receive notice from the Authority to change their watchmans permits into security personnel permits. The replacement exercise will take about 5 years to complete (Annex B). This transitional arrangement will buffer any immediate impact on the employment opportunities of elderly watchmen.
5. We have publicised the above arrangement through television and radio broadcasting. The Authority has also emphasised this arrangement in the media and at its meetings with trade associations as well as trade unions. In conducting its public hearing on applications for licences, the Authority again reminds the companies of the above. The Commissioner for Labour had also issued a letter drawing the attention of all employers to this arrangement.
Employment claims received by the Labour Department
6. Since the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance came into effect on 1.6.96, the Labour Relations Service (LRS) of the Labour Department has received claims from 27 watchmen/security guards arising from dismissal by their employers as at 30.9.96. Of these, 21 are aged 65 and above, 5 between 55 and 64 and 1 below 55. As regards their length of service, 7 had less than 5 years service, 17 had 5-9 years service and 3 had over 10 years service. The Labour Departments role is to ensure that the claimants are given termination benefits in accordance with the Employment Ordinance. Where there is a dispute between the claimant and his employer, the Labour Department provides a conciliation service to help both parties to come to a settlement. Of the 27 claims cases, 19 have been settled by the LRS, 4 referred to the Labour Tribunal for adjudication and the remaining 4 pending result of conciliation. A summary of these claims is at the Annex C. The number of claims lodged at the LRS decreased from 16 in June to 6 in July, 3 in August and 2 in September.
Employment Assistance provided by the Labour Department to claimants
7. The Local Employment Service(LES) of the Labour Department has followed up on each of these 27 cases. Of these 27 cases, three of them have already found employment. Seven of them indicate that they would like to seek a new job. Four of them have hence registered with the LES. Another three who need comprehensive placement service have joined the Job Matching Programme (JMP). Nine informed the Department that they would retire. Three would go back to their home countriese for a short while and do not need employment assistance for the time being. The remaining five could not be contracted and the Department would continue to contact them. At the LES, a special counter has also been designated to serve the displaced elderly workers and they can get priority service without having to queue up for service. The LES will continue to assist the displaced security guards and watchmen to find suitable jobs.
8. Any dismissed watchmen/guards who would like to acquire new skills to enhance his employment opportunities may enrol in the training courses tailor-made for workers aged over 50 by the Employees Retraining Board.
9. Since the implementation of the Ordinance, it has been accepted by the community as a positive move in improving the standard of the security industry. There are also provisions in the Ordinance that allow the employment of security workers over the age of 65 which has been widely publicised. The Labour Department has and will continue to provide conciliation service and employment services to those security workers who become displaced as a result of this Ordinance.
Last Updated on 21 August 1998