PLC Paper No. LS 108

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council
on 20 February 1998

Legal Service Division Report on
Code of Practice on Employment under
the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (91 of 1997)
(G.N. 635) Gazetted on 13 February 1998

Date of Tabling in Provisional LegCo : 18 February 1998
Amendment to be made by : 18 March 1998 (or 25 March 1998 if extended by resolution)

Under section 47 of the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (91 of 1997) ("the Ordinance"), the Equal Opportunities Commission ("the EOC") may issue codes of practice for the purposes of the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity between persons irrespective of family status.

2. The Code explains in general terms the provisions of the Ordinance.

3. Guidance is given in the Code for the prevention and elimination of discrimination and other unlawful acts in employment. In particular, the Code recommends the use of "consistent selection criteria" in various aspects of employment, such as recruitment, promotion, transfer, training, dismissal and redundancy as well as the setting out of terms and conditions of employment.

4. The Code applies to employment in Hong Kong in any establishment, unless the employee does his or her work wholly or mainly outside Hong Kong. The Code applies to employment relationships in both the public and private sectors.

5. A failure on the part of a person to observe the Code does not render him liable in any proceedings. But in any proceedings under the Ordinance, relevant provisions of the Code shall be admissible in evidence for the determination of any questions arising from the proceedings.

6. Members may wish to note that the scrutiny period of and amendment procedure for the Code are substantially the same as those for subsidiary legislation gazetted under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1), except that the notice period for a motion to extend the scrutiny period or amend the Code is 12 clear days.

7. The Code will come into operation upon the expiration of 28 days after the PLC meeting at which it was so laid, or upon the expiration of the period extended for scrutiny, or in the case where the PLC passes a resolution amending the Code, upon the expiration of the day next preceding the day of the publication in the Gazette of such resolution.

8. As a result of our queries raised with the EOC, it has agreed to make certain technical amendments to both the English and Chinese texts of the Code.

Prepared by

Lam Ping-man, Stephen
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
18 February 1998