Legislative Council Panel on Public Service
Employment of Non-Civil Service Contract Staff
This paper briefs Members on the Administration's proposal to introduce the non-civil service contract terms for Heads of Department or Heads of Grade (HoDs/HoGs) to employ non-civil service contract staff at non-directorate equivalent level. This improves the existing arrangements for employment of temporary and short-term contract staff.
2.It is one of the policy objectives of Civil Service Bureau (CSB) announced earlier this year to modernise the appointments system and make it more flexible to suit present day circumstances and departments' needs. This policy objective includes, inter alia, a review of the existing framework to appoint on temporary terms. A main objective of the review is to introduce more flexibilities into the temporary appointment system and provide HoDs/HoGs with greater autonomy in employing and deploying staff so that they can be more responsive to the demand on their services and be more efficient in the use of resources.
Non-Civil Service Appointments at Present
3.At present, government departments often engage non-civil service staff on an ad hoc basis to meet their service and operational needs. They include daily-rated or monthly-rated temporary staff and short-term contract staff engaged in various departments (examples are staff tutors in Civil Service Training and Development Institute, curriculum officers in Curriculum Development Institute in Education Department, and business development managers in Post Office).
4.These non-civil service staff are distinct from civil servants in that they are not appointed to posts on the civil service establishment and not remunerated on the civil service pay and condition package. These staff have no claim for posting, promotion or transfer to any civil service posts. They are usually appointed on a fixed-term contract basis, some with provision of an end-of-contract gratuity.
5.Hitherto, temporary staff are employed on a standard package of terms and regulations (e.g. pay pegged to minimum civil service pay point, duration of employment not more than 12 months). The making of other ad hoc non-civil service appointments on contract terms requires consultation with CSB on a case-by-case basis.
6.The present system for appointment of non-civil servants is considered rigid in meeting the variety of service needs in different departments. For instance, in view of the 12 months restriction, departments are required to justify and seek CSB agreement to employ temporary staff for fixed-term projects of two to three years duration on each and every occasion. There have been calls from HoDs/HoGs for greater flexibility to employ these staff and to decide the employment terms to suit their recruitment situation and operational needs.
Proposed Non-Civil Service Contract Terms
7.In response to demand for greater flexibility for HoDs/HoGs on appointment matters, we propose to provide HoDs/HoGs with the flexibility to make non-civil service appointments at non-directorate equivalent level to meet their short-term service and operational needs.
8.Under the proposal, HoDs/HoGs may employ non-civil service contract staff subject to the following guidelines -
- the non-civil service contract staff should be employed to meet service or operational need that is short-term or project-based in nature and does not require keeping staff on a long-term basis;
- these staff should be remunerated at non-directorate equivalent level and the remuneration package should be no more favourable than civil servants in comparable ranks;
- the employment terms should fully meet the provisions in the Employment Ordinance and Employees' Compensation Ordinance; and
- the employment of these staff should be authorised by directorate officers in departments and should be overseen by officers at an appropriate level of seniority.
A summary of the main features of the non-civil service contract terms is at Annex
9.The proposal to allow HoDs/HoGs more autonomy to use non-civil service contract terms will enable them to better deploy their resources to meet their service and operational needs. This is a response to call for more flexible arrangement and improvement to the existing arrangements for employing temporary and ad hoc short-term contract staff. It will also provide HoDs/HoGs with the necessary tools to take forward initiatives to achieve productivity gains under the Enhanced Productivity Programme (EPP). The requirement for decision to engage non-civil service contract staff to be taken at directorate level (paragraph 8(d) above) will ensure a degree of check and balance in the system.
10.We are informing the staff sides with an advance copy of the circular on the non-civil service contract terms. It is intended that the proposal will take effect from January 1999.
11. Mr Thomas Chan, Principal Assistant Secretary for the Civil Service (Appointments) is responsible for the subject matter. He can be contacted at telephone number 2810 3063 (fax: 2530 1265 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Civil Service Bureau
18 December 1998
Main Features of Non-Civil Service Contract Terms
- HoDs/HoGs or delegated officers at directorate level to authorise the employment of non-civil service contract staff with remuneration packages not better than civil service ranks at non-directorate level and to approve the employment package.
- Non-civil service contract with flexible duration up to 3 years each.
- Engaged on a fixed-term basis and no guarantee for further employment. No claim for posting, promotion or transfer to any civil service posts.
- HoDs/HoGs to determine the level of pay subject to not more than the minimum salary of comparable civil service ranks.
- No increments will be offered. HoDs/HoGs may adjust pay according to cost of living subject to no more than the rate of civil service pay adjustment.
- HoDs/HoGs may offer end-of-contract gratuity for non-civil service contract staff, subject to good performance and conduct during the contract, and the gratuity payable being no more than the following rate -
- skilled jobs - 15% of basic salary; and
- non-skilled jobs - 10% of basic salary.
- Other employment terms (termination, dismissal, etc.) and benefits (paid annual leave, sickness allowance, maternity protection, severance payment and long service payment) follow the provisions of the Employment Ordinance and Employees' Compensation Ordinance.
Civil Service Bureau
18 December 1998