Information Paper for the Legislative Council Panel on Housing
Follow-up to meeting on 4 January 1999
LC Paper No. CB(1) 692/98-99(06)
Contracting out of the management of public rental housing estatesBACKGROUND
At the meeting on 4 January 1999, the Housing Department was asked to consider stipulating in the service agreements minimum wages for different categories of labourers to ensure quality of work, providing copies of service contracts to Estate Management Advisory Committees (EMACs), and posting relevant extracts of contracts in estates for tenants' reference. This paper advises Members of the progress.SETTING OF MINIMUM WAGES
2.As far as cleansing service for rental properties is concerned, wage ranges are specified in contracts for certain types of services, such as -
- special squad;
- half-time operatives for estate office;
- non-skilled gardening operatives (deleted in rental properties with effect from 1.6.1999 with the exception of Tenants Purchase Scheme estates); and
- toilet attendants.
3. The wage ranges are derived from the updated Half-Yearly Report of Wages Statistics of the Census and Statistics Department. Although there is no specified minimum wage for general operatives, the minimum wage level is however guarded by clause 5 under the heading of "Fair Wages" of the General Conditions of Contract, which stipulates that -
- the Contractor shall pay rates of wages and observe hours and conditions of labour which are not less favourable than the general level of wages, hours and conditions observed by other employers whose general circumstances in the trade or industry in which the Contractor is engaged are similar;
- upon request, the Contractor shall provide to the Housing Manager for examination and/or duplication original documents indicating the actual wage payments made to all persons employed by him for carrying out this contract;
- the Contractor shall in respect of all persons employed by him, whether in carrying out this contract or otherwise, in every place of work or other place occupied or used by him for carrying out the works comply with the general conditions required by this clause; and
- in the event of default being made in the payment of any money in respect of wages of any person employed by the Contractor in and for carrying out this contract and if a claim thereof is filed in the office of the Labour Department and proof thereof is furnished to the satisfaction of the Commissioner for Labour, the Housing Department may, failing payment of the said money by the Contractor, make payment of such claim to the said Commissioner or his representative out of any monies due or which may later become due to the Contractor under this contract and such payment shall be deemed to be a payment made to the Contractor under and by virtue of this contract.
4. There is no statutory minimum wage in Hong Kong. Wage levels are normally determined by individual agreements between employers and employees and are subject to market forces. Employers and employees are free to negotiate on the levels of wage and other conditions of employment.
PROVISION OF COPIES OF SERVICE CONTRACTS TO EMACs
5. At present, extracts of service contracts such as the service schedules of the cleansing contracts and duty list of guards in security contracts are displayed at public areas such as ground floor lift lobbies of domestic blocks and estate offices for easy reference by tenants and the general public.
6. EMACs have access to particulars of service contracts including tender conditions, special conditions, general conditions, service schedule and duty lists to facilitate their participation in monitoring the performance of the contractors. Other tender details in the contract document are excluded because the Housing Department observes the Code of Access to Information. Under the Code, commercial information of a contract such as cost analysis, profits and overheads are considered as sensitive information, the disclosure of which to the public will require the consent of the relevant third party.