Legislative Council Panel on Public Service
Meeting on 24 February 1997
Allowances for Overtime Work


This paper briefs Members on the rules and regulations governing the payment of allowances for overtime work.

General principles

2. Overtime work is work undertaken over and beyond an officer’s conditioned hours. The general principles governing the payment for overtime in the civil service, as reviewed by the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service in 1982 and accepted by the Administration, may be summarised as follows :

  1. overtime work should be kept to the minimum and should only be undertaken when unavoidable;
  2. overtime work should normally be recompensed by time off in lieu unless this is impracticable within a reasonable period of time;
  3. there is some salary level above which there is a fundamental incongruity with the receipt of cash allowances for overtime;
  4. occasional overtime should be strictly controlled, including advance authorisation, and should attract the standard rate of overtime allowance; and
  5. regular overtime should also be strictly controlled and should be compensated by an approved consolidated allowance at a rate less than that for occasional overtime.

3. There are three types of allowances for overtime work - overtime allowance, honorarium, and Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance.

Overtime allowance

4. Civilian officers in ranks whose scale maxima are on or below Point 25 (currently $28,490) and whose scale minima are on or below Point 19 of the Master Pay Scale (currently $21,525) are eligible for overtime allowance, with the following exceptions:

  1. officers in administrative and professional grades, regardless of rank or pay point;
  2. officers in departmental grades of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (but see para 7);
  3. teaching staff;
  4. officers remunerated from the Training Pay Scale and other officers under training who are required to attend for duty beyond conditioned hours in connection with their training; and
  5. Estate Assistants, Senior Estate Assistants, Chief Estate Assistants, Property Attendants, and Head Property Attendants who are provided with quarters at or near their place of work.

5. The normal hourly rate of overtime allowance is 1/140 of an officer’s monthly salary, which is roughly time-and-a-half. Where an officer’s conditioned hours are 44 gross per week, the hourly rate in respect of the first four hours’ overtime in any week for which an allowance may be claimed is 1/210 of monthly salary. This reduced rate was given having regard to the fact that this group of staff work less hours per week compared with some others who are required to work 45 hours net per week.


6. An honorarium is paid to officers who are not eligible for the standard overtime allowance to compensate them for periods of prolonged overtime occasioned by pressure of work.

Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance

7. On the recommendation of the Review Committee on Disciplined Services Pay and Conditions of Service, a Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance was introduced in 1989. Officers who are remunerated from the General Disciplined Services (Rank and File) Pay Scale, officers whose scale maxima are on or below Point 25 of the General Disciplined Services (Officers) Pay Scale (currently $50,210), on or below Point 47 of the Police Pay Scale (currently $62,755), and on or below Point 30 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Salary Scale (currently $55,890) are eligible for the Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance.

8. The hourly rate of Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance is 1/175 of an officer’s monthly salary, which is in between the rate of overtime allowance and honoraria.

Consolidated overtime allowance

9. Where an officer works more than 150 hours overtime in a calendar month, a consolidated overtime allowance at the rate of 1/210 of monthly salary per hour will be paid in respect of any hours worked in excess of 150 hours overtime a month.

Administration of overtime allowance

10. The eligibility rules and the rates of overtime allowance set out above are applied in all departments. Apart from exceptional circumstances arising from unforeseen events, overtime must be authorised in advance by an officer who is himself/herself ineligible for overtime allowance. Records must be kept on the work performed during an overtime period and the actual times at which an officer commences and ceases to work overtime.


11. Mrs Philomena Leung, Principal Assistant Secretary (Civil Service)3 is responsible for the subject matter. She may be contacted on telephone number 2810 3100.

Civil Service Branch
February 1997

Last Updated on 21 August 1998