Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Public Service Meeting
on 26 January 1998

Review of Pay Scales of Individual Grades


This paper contains a description of the policy on civil service pay and the mechanisms for reviewing pay scales of individual grades.

Civil Service Pay Policy

2. Civil service pay is set at a level which is sufficient to attract, retain, and motivate staff of a suitable calibre to provide the public with an effective and efficient service. Such remuneration should be regarded as fair by both civil servants and the public which they serve.

Pay Relativity

3. Broad comparability with the private sector is one of the main factors used to set civil service pay. For this purpose, benchmark surveys are carried out from time to time. This involves finding out the starting pay in the private sector for jobs requiring certain education qualifications and then using these figures to determine the benchmarks to calculate the starting pay for civil service jobs requiring a similar qualification for appointment.

4. To establish the maximum pay of a basic rank and the pay scale of ranks above the basic rank, reference will be made to the existing pay scales of one or more of the major grades within the group. The pay scale of a rank is then adjusted having regard to established internal relativity and the factors set out at Annex. This broadbanding approach is adopted to circumvent unnecessary adjustments due to minor job differences between grades in the same qualification group.

5. To ensure that broad comparability with the private sector is maintained, annual pay trend surveys are carried out among private sector companies, the results of which form the basis to determine the size of the annual civil service pay adjustment.

Adjustment to Pay Scales

6. Proposals to adjust the pay scales of a grade/rank may be initiated by the staff, the departmental management, or Civil Service Bureau. As a first step, the justifications in support of a change will be carefully examined by Civil Service Bureau (with the aid of consultants as appropriate) in consultation with the Head of Grade. Affected staff are consulted. If the proposal is supported by Civil Service Bureau (and Finance Bureau if the proposal has financial implications), the relevant Advisory Committee1 is consulted. The Advisory Committee will carry out its own assessment of the case for a review. This may include on the job assessments, interviews with staff and departmental management and consultation with Civil Service Bureau. The Advisory Committees submit their advice to the Chief Executive.

7. After formal acceptance of the advice tendered by the relevant Advisory Committee, a submission will be made to the Establishment Sub-committee2, and Finance Committee before any adjustments to pay are implemented.

8. Members are invited to note the contents of this paper.

Civil Service Bureau
22 January 1998

1.The Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service would be consulted on matters relating to the non-directorate non-disciplined services staff; the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service on matters relating to the disciplined services staff (except the heads of service); and the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service on matters relating to the directorate staff.

2. The terms of reference of the Establishment Sub-committee provide for it to consider submissions from the Administration and, as appropriate, to recommend to Finance Committee, changes to the structure of civil service ranks and grades (including pay scales, new grades and new ranks) recommended by the relevant advisory committee, and the consequential creation and deletion of posts in affected ranks.


Factors Taken Into Account
In Setting Pay Levels for Individual Grades

For adjusting the starting pay only

· relevant post-qualification experience as stipulated in the entry requirement

· possession of special or unusual skills and knowledge on top of the general qualification (not applicable to technical or professional grades)

· additional qualification as stipulated in the entry requirement

· possession of a relevant degree (applicable for degree grades only)

For adjusting the starting pay and/or the maximum pay

· obnoxious or dangerous duties

· enforcement duties entailing confrontation with the public and risk of the enforcing officer being subjected to physical danger

· shifts leading to appreciable disruption of normal family life

· outdoor duties in all weather conditions

· requirement to work on public holidays and Sundays or at unsocial hours

· conditioned hours of work

The above factors would only be reflected in the pay scale if:

· the extent is materially over and above that normally expected of similar grades in the group;

· they are inherent in duties constituting an appreciable part of the normal work of officers in that rank or grade;

· they are of a permanent feature; and

· they apply to at least 75% of staff in the rank.