Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2) 265/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/MP/1

LegCo Panel on Manpower

Minutes of meeting
held on Tuesday, 28 July 1998 at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon LEE Kai-ming (Chairman)
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Members attending :

Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Members absent :

Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP

Public Officers attending :

Item III

Mr Joseph W P WONG
Secretary for Education and Manpower

Mr Matthew CHEUNG
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower

Commissioner for Labour

Ms Esther LEUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Miss Susanne HO
Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Mrs Jennie CHOR
Assistant Commissioner for Labour

Mrs Clare SIU
Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Atg.)

Item IV

Mr Matthew CHEUNG
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower

Commissioner for Labour

Ms Esther LEUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Miss Susanne HO
Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Chief Assistant Secretary for Works

Assistant Secretary for Works

Mrs Jennie CHOR
Assistant Commissioner for Labour

Item V and VI

Mr Matthew CHEUNG
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower

Commissioner for Labour

Mr Herman CHO
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Miss Aubrey FUNG
Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Mrs Jennie CHOR
Assistant Commissioner for Labour

Mr Alan WONG
Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Atg.)

Clerk in attendance :

Mrs Sharon TONG
Chief Assistant Secretary (2)1

Staff in attendance :

Miss Betty MA
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 1

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting on 14 July 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 94/98-99)

The minutes were confirmed.

II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 93/98-99(01))

2. Members agreed that no meeting would be scheduled for August 1998. The Chairman pointed out that as the regular meeting originally scheduled for 22 October 1998 would clash with the Legislative Council meeting, he suggested and members agreed that the regular meeting in October would be rescheduled to 29 October 1998 at 2:30 pm.

3. Members agreed to discuss the following four items at the next Panel meeting:

  1. Report on the work progress of the Task Force on Employment;

  2. Member's bill on age discrimination to be introduced by Hon LAU Chin-shek;

  3. Review of working time arrangements; and

  4. Change of employment terms by employers.

4. Members also agreed to discuss the "Proposal on Minimum Wage in Hong Kong", a research paper submitted by the Hong Kong Security Society, at the meeting to be held on October 1998. Given the proposal would have a far-reaching implications on both employers and employees, and to facilitate members to have an in-depth deliberations, members agreed that employers' associations, labour organizations and academic institutions be invited to put forward their views on the proposal. Clerk

(Post-meeting note : The above bodies have been invited to put forward their views on the proposal vide the letters issued on 12 August 1998.)

III. Package of measures taken by the Administration to relieve the unemployment situation in Hong Kong
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 93/98-99(02))

5. At the invitation of the Chairman, Secretary for Education and Manpower (SEM) briefed members on the salient points of the information paper. To tackle unemployment, the Administration had been providing more information on services and counselling services to the unemployed, stepping up employees retraining programmes and enhancing the training programmes provided by the Vocational Training Council (VTC). The Task Force on Employment, headed by the Financial Secretary, was formed in April to look into the problem. After its first meeting held in June 1998, it had announced a series of 12 further measures to create jobs and tackle unemployment. Three new areas of additional job opportunities were also announced after the second meeting of the Task Force. In addition to these measures, the Government also announced on 22 June 1998 a package of special relief measures to boost the economy. The progress of all these measures was set out in the paper.

6. SEM said that the Administration was concerned about the rising unemployment rate. He assured members that the Administration would do its utmost to help the unemployed find jobs and provide them with suitable retraining so that they would stay competitive in the labour market. These would be sustained efforts. Given that some of the relief measures were just under way, the Administration would need more time to examine their effectiveness.

7. In response to Mr CHAN Wing-chan's question on the direct grant of the former Tamar Site to the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA), Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower (DSEM) said that the site had been granted to HKTA for a period until 30 June 2000. During the period, HKTA would organize a series of activities resulting in the creation of about 3 200 new jobs, most of which would be on a project basis. Jobs for operating and technical support personnel would be included. He further said that HKTA would draw up a series of programmes to be launched on this site during this period. Nevertheless, the Administration would convey to HKTA Mr CHAN's suggestion of setting up a flea market at the site so as to create more job opportunities. Adm

8. Mr Andrew CHENG suggested that an extension of the existing services provided by the Labour Department such as the provision of counters in District Offices, KCR and MTR stations could be considered. SEM said that the Administration was aware of the prevailing unemployment problem and was improving information on services for the unemployed and its training bodies as well as improving employment services for the unemployed, such as installing more self-serve touch-screen computers. Commissioner for Labour (C for L) added that the Administration had actively considered the feasibility of installing computers in those KCR and MTR stations which had a large flow of passengers so that job-seekers could gain access to all vacancies at a convenient location. However, the cost-effectiveness of the proposal had to be examined carefully because the estimated project cost was about $37 million. She also pointed out that as many organizations such as offices of trade unions and the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) as well as some job-seekers were equipped with computers, job-seekers could gain access to all vacancies placed on the Labour Department's network.

9. In response to a follow-up question from Mr CHENG, C for L said that, with a view to enhancing accessibility of information on job vacancies registered with the Labour Department, the Department was prepared to consider the need to extend its installation of touch-screen computers in government premises/buildings. However, her priority was to find suitable locations within the Labour Department such as the Careers Advisory Service (CAS) which served school leavers and young job-seekers. The Department was also considering re-provisioning its employment services, labour relations services and careers advisory services within the same office. In order to cope with the increased number of job registrants, the Department had introduced some new measures such as providing telephone job matching for job-seekers and vacancy processing service. Having registered with the Labour Department in person for the first time, the job-seekers could request for job referrals by making a phone call thereafter. In addition, with the consent of the employers who had placed vacancy orders in the Department, the Department would disclose their particulars to the job-seekers so that the latter could approach the employers directly. Telephones had been installed in all Local Employment Service (LES) offices to facilitate job-seekers in making contact with these employers.

10. In response to Mr LAU Chin-shek, C for L said that it would not be possible to capture the number of job-seekers who succeeded in finding a job through direct contact with employers because no follow-up service was required. Nevertheless, the Labour Department would carry out an initial assessment of the job conditions before disclosing the information, such as whether the recruiting companies got a valid business registration, whether the job vacancies appeared to have unacceptable elements, viz. age or sex discrimination and whether the salary offered was in line with the standard prevailing in the industry. Despite a lack of post-referral information, it was still considered that the overall advantages of the service outweighed the disadvantages, as it would cut down the waiting list of job-seekers. Notwithstanding the advantages, she pointed out that only about one-fifth of the employers who had placed vacancy orders in the Department were willing to be approached by job-seekers directly. As most of the companies were of small to medium size which did not have sufficient resources to go through all the applications, they preferred to rely on the Department to filter out unqualified applicants.

11. Referring to para. 2.3 of Annex B to the information paper, Mr James TIEN raised a query as to whether there would be a problem of job matching. He pointed out that over 50 000 new jobs which were expected to be created as a result of the Government's new initiatives, developments, or projects, arose from the infrastructural development projects. As most of the recent unemployed were previously engaged in the service sector, he doubted whether the unemployed could be able to take up those new posts in the construction sector. SEM clarified that not all the new posts expected to be created were on-site manual jobs. Of the job opportunities to be generated from the infrastructural development projects, about 34 744 would be at the operative/support levels and 5 906 would be at the professional or managerial levels.

12. Mr CHAN Kam-lam opined that under the present economic situation, not only the lower income workers encountered unemployment problem but also the middle management and even the professionals. He enquired whether any retraining or counselling services had been provided for the latter unemployed group. In response, SEM said that VTC and the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions were responsible for providing further education and for those with secondary education or above. As part of the measures to tackle unemployment, UGC-funded institutions were prepared to expand the capacity of taught post-graduate courses for university graduates who might not be able to find jobs but wished to undertake post-graduate study. In addition, the Finance Committee had approved the proposal to extend the Non-Means Tested Loan Scheme which would also benefit part-time students. C for L further said that during the first six month in 1998, 8 939 people who were categorized as middle managers had sought assistance from the Labour Department. This represented 9.3% of all the registrants recorded in this period. For the full year 1997 the number of registrants looking for middle management posts was 5 765. Wheras the number of vacancies available for middle management from January to June 1998 was 11 569 which represented an increase of 184.3% when compared with the figure in the corresponding period last year. The Labour Department was actively improving its image that its target group was not only confined to lower income workers.

13. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung, however, considered that the vacancies to be created as mentioned in the information paper were mainly for those who possessed skills or higher qualifications. He enquired whether the Administration had put in place any mechanism to assess whether it could achieve its original recruitment plan, particularly in the civil service; if not, what measures would be adopted to accelerate the recruitment process. SEM responded that the Task Force on Employment would look into the vacancy position in the civil service and the Administration would expedite its recruitment efforts so as to fill up these vacancies as soon as possible. The Administration would report on the progress to the Panel at its meeting in September 1998. Adm

14. Dr LUI Ming-wah said that employers would be most willing to resort to the Labour Department for referral if they could find suitable applicants successfully because displaying an advertisement in the newspaper was rather expensive. He suggested that, in the light of the economic downturn, the Labour Department should provide realistic job market information to the job-seekers. C for L responded that the Labour Department had adopted a proactive approach in trawling for job vacancies, for example, the departmental personnel would look at the vacancies advertised in the newspapers and they would make a call to the employers requesting them to consider placing the vacancy orders in LES offices as well. An Employment Information and Promotion Programme would be launched in August 1998 to strengthen and improve the Department's employment service. She added that the job matching service aimed at giving counselling to the job-seekers a realistic view of the employment market. The ERB retrainees were also provided with job market information.

15. In response to Mr CHAN Kam-lam, SEM said that given there were some 20 000 seamen posts on Hong Kong-based vessels and the shipowners had indicated their preference for recruiting local seamen, VTC and ERB would jointly launch a special training programme for the maritime industry with a view to attracting more young people into the industry. Each trainee would receive a monthly retraining allowance of $4,000 per month during the 14 weeks' classroom training period and then monthly pay of $6,500 and an on-the-job training allowance of $2,000 per month during the 6 months' on-the-job training period on board a vessel. DSEM added that after the trainees had completed the 14-week classroom training, they would attend an in-service training programme on board a vessel. There were opportunities for seamen to advance to the post of captain or work in shipping companies.

16. In response to the Chairman, SEM said that the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) and the Civil Service Bureau would take the lead to recognize the qualifications acquired by the 1 000 unemployed persons who have completed the nine-month Certificate of Skills Training (Service Industries) Course which would be run jointly by ERB and VTC. The Administration would continue with its effort to encourage and liasie with other employers to recognize the qualifications.

17. Miss CHAN Yuen-han pointed out that the economic situation was deteriorating and that more employers were proposing a reduction in wages unilaterally. She asked if the Administration would step up its publicity efforts regarding the unreasonable arrangements. C for L said that employers were not allowed to change the employment terms unilaterally. In the event that the affected employees did not accept the revised terms, the employers who insisted on varying the terms should give these employees termination compensation in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the Employment Ordinance.

18. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan pointed out that all the six labour/employees' representatives sitting in the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) were of unanimous views that the Supplementary Labour Scheme should be abolished. He wondered if the Administration would consider abolishing the Scheme in the light of the labour side's views. SEM said that a decision would be taken after the review report on the Scheme from the Labour Department had been examined.

19. Responding to Mr LEE Chuek-yan, C for L said that when the Labour Department made a referral, they would inform the potential job-seeker of the job content and the pay offered. The job-seeker would be asked to report back if the conditions of service were found to be different from those stated in the advertisement so that the Labour Department could take the necessary follow-up action. She added that the Labour Department would refuse to provide further services to those employers who had used underhanded means.

IV. Manpower needs for infrastructural projects
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 93/98-99(03))

20. DSEM took members through the information paper. In brief, he said that -

  1. Both the Construction Industry Training Authority (CITA) and VTC had expanded their respective training capacity. In view of the special labour needs voiced by the employers, CITA and the contractors concerned had launched the 'Special Trades Cooperative Training Scheme', including Tunnel Boring Machine Operation and Dredging Operation. The response to the Scheme was impressive. For instance, of the 16 vacancies for the Tunnel Boring Machine Operation, more than 500 applications were received;

  2. The provision of trades tests and certification tests was an important step to ensure the standard of skill level which would facilitate continuing improvement in works quality and safety;

  3. Since the introduction of semi-skilled workers in the first quarter in 1998, the response was good. About 3 940 persons had taken the tests. 3 470 persons had successfully passed the tests, representing an overall passing rate of 88%. Of these, 1 815 passed the tests of construction disciplines and 1 655 in the electrical and mechanical trades. For those who failed for the first time and want to make their second attempt, refresher courses would be provided. Assistance would be provided for those successfully tested workers who needed job placement service; and

  4. The Quadrilateral Working Group on Training and Retraining for the Construction Industry, led by the EMB and comprising representatives of all the relevant training institutions and government bureaux/departments as well as trade associations and labour unions would continue to closely monitor the manpower needs of the industry. The Working Group would meet again in mid-August 1998.

21. In response to Mr Andrew CHENG, DSEM said that some 170 persons, who had passed the intermediate trade tests for semi-skilled construction workers, needed placement service did not mean the tests were ineffective but rather it was due to the fact that they were new entrants to the industry who would naturally need more assistance.

22. Mr CHAN Kam-lam pointed out that no provision regarding the employment of local workers was stipulated in the tenders of the infrastructural development projects. Some members expressed concern on how the employment opportunities of local workers could be protected if the infrastructural development projects were awarded to foreign contractors. Chief Assistant Secretary for Works responded that the Administration had put in place a mechanism to ensure contractors' compliance of the principle of priority of employment to local workers. Before the contractors could employ foreign labour, they had to fulfill a number of criteria. Foreign registered contractors who wanted to import foreign labour had to prove that they could not find such types of workers in the local labour market. Any application for imported labour would have to be made through the Labour Department. DSEM said that consideration would be given to adding a clause which required a certain percentage of workers engaged in the public sector housing programme and public works projects should be qualified semi-skilled workers. The proposal would assist new blood in entering the construction industry. The Administration was also actively discussing with the private developers about the proposal.

V. Resolution to be proposed by Hon LEE Chuek-yan on Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 93/98-99(04) and CB(2) 127/98-99(01))

23. At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan introduced his proposed improvements to the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Ordinance. The proposals were as follows -

  1. Increasing the coverage of the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund (the Fund)

    The coverage of the Fund was last revised in February 1996. At present, the maximum limit of ex-gratia payment for arrears of wages was $36,000, the maximum coverage for wages in lieu of notice was $22,500 and the ex-gratia payment in respect of severance payment was $36,000. Given the financial turmoil, it was expected that a significant number of firms would be wound up which would worsen the unemployment problem. Thus, a resolution to increase the coverage of the Fund was proposed in order to offer better assistance to those employees who were dismissed with unpaid wages;

  2. Expanding the scope of the Fund

    The proposal also aimed at extending the scope of the Fund to cover all the interests of employees such as pro rata year-end gratuity and annual leave; and

  3. Exempting legal aid applicants from the means test

    Quite a number of workers could be able to apply to the court for liquidation of the company only with the assistance from the Legal Aid Department. The failure to pass the means test could result in their not being able to receive the ex-gratia payment from the Fund. It was therefore proposed to exempt this group of applicants from the means tests. The expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department would be recovered upon the completion of the winding up process.

24. Mr LEE Chuek-yan urged members to support his proposal. He said that the Administration's main concern, as stipulated in its response, was on whether the Fund would be expended. As pointed out by the Administration, the Fund stood at around $800 million at present and it was anticipated that a deficit of $90 million would be incurred next year. Even when the estimated deficit was $100 million, the surplus of the Fund should be able to cope with the proposed level of payouts before there was a need to raise the danger signal. As the Fund was financed by a levy of $250 per annum on each business registration certificate, the Administration might consider increasing the levy without imposing a corresponding increase in the registration fee.

25. In response, DSEM made the following points -

  1. Increasing the payment limit of the Fund

    The Administration was prepared to review the present level of payouts covered by the Fund, given the last revision was in February 1996. It would consult the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund Board (PWIB) and LAB as well as the Panel in this regard. DSEM stressed that the Administration was keeping an open mind on the issue at this juncture. Nevertheless, nine factors, as spelt out in the Administration's paper, would be taken into consideration when examining the matter. In brief, DSEM highlighted the followings -

    1. The coverage of the Fund had been increased very substantially since last revision in February 1996. The arrears of wages had been doubled from up to $18,000 to up to $36,000; wages in lieu of notice from up to $6,000 to up to $22,500; and severance payment from up to $24,000 plus 50% of excess entitlement up to $36,000 plus 50% of excess entitlement. The maximum amount of ex-gratia payment an applicant could receive from the Fund was $211,500 at present;

    2. Though not all applicants could recover their entitlements in full, most of them did recover a substantial portion. In 1997, 94%, 98% and 75% of the applicants were able to recover their entitlements in full in respect of arrears of wages, wages in lieu of notice and severance payment respectively;

    3. The policy of the Fund was that ex-gratia payments were meant to provide a kind of prompt relief and not full compensation to workers;

    4. The balance of the Fund had been depleting. In the last nine months, the Fund had been reduced from $931 million in October 1997 to $831 million in June 1998. The Fund had not been able to break even as a result of a significant increase in applications. In 1997-98, the Fund registered a deficit of $25 million. The deficit was expected to increase further to $90 million in 1998-99, by the end of which the estimated total accumulated fund would fall to about $763 million. Given the current economic situation, the falling trend was likely to continue;

    5. The Fund should be managed prudently to cope with all contingencies. Having regard to the recent downturn in the economy, for the first six months of 1998, the total payouts from the Fund had been doubled to about $164 million as compared with the corresponding period last year. Given the number of company registrations was on the decrease, the revenue to the Fund was put under pressure;

    6. A reasonable level of reserve was needed. Otherwise, in case of emergency, the Fund could not be able to cope with the need. For instance, the insolvency of Yohan Department Store could involve payment from the Fund to the tune of $67 million; and

    7. The recent recommendations of the Law Reform Commission concerning corporate rescue and the abolition of preferential payments to employees in companies in insolvency cases, if adopted, would have impact on the Fund. The issue of abolition of preferential payment for employees was discussed at a recent LAB meeting and LAB was against this recommendation. The issue of increasing the payment limit of the Fund would have to be studied by LAB. The outcome would be reported to the Panel in due course.

  2. Extending the scope of coverage of the Fund

    An applicant's claim for wages, including end-of-year payment and paid leave under the Employment Ordinance, had already been covered by the Fund provided that the service rendered was within four months prior to his last day of service.

  3. Abolition of the means test in applying for legal aid

    When a group of employees filed a petition to the court to wind up a company, if only one eligible employee could be found, i.e. one who pass the means test for applying for legal aid, he could file the petition to wind up the company. Under the current provisions in the Legal Aid Ordinance, the Director of Legal Aid was not empowered to grant exemption to any type of applicants. A recent review of the legal aid policy also recommended that there should be no change to the policy.

26. DSEM added that the thrust of Mr LEE Cheuk-yan's proposal was about the ceiling and the level of payouts covered by the Fund. He undertook to reflect Mr LEE's concerns to PWIB and LAB for consideration and report back to the Panel as soon as possible. Adm

27. Mr Andrew CHENG suggested that consideration be given to setting up a team of solicitors by PWIB to provide legal assistance to employees seeking liquidation of a company. He believed that no additional resources were required as the legal fees incurred could be recovered after the winding up process had been completed. DSEM agreed to refer the suggestion to PWIB for consideration. Adm

28. Mr LAU Chin-shek pointed out that for one single big insolvency case such as Yaohan Department Store could involve payment from the Fund amounted to $67 million. He expressed concern on the amount of payment that could be recovered through subrogation and the measures that had been taken to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. Assistant Commissioner for Labour (AC for L) said that the insolvency of the Yaohan Department Store was an individual case where the company collapsed within a very short period of time. According to the liquidator, it was estimated that about $32 million, i.e. 47% of the payment from the Fund, could be recovered. He added that under the Employment Ordinance, employers deliberately held back employees' wages without reasonable excuse would constitute criminal offences. The Labour Department would take appropriate follow-up actions in each case on its merits.

29. In response to Miss CHAN Yuen-han, AC for L said that since the setting up of the Fund in 1985, a total of six adjustments had been made to various payments. The PWIB would conduct regular review of the sufficiency of the Fund and on whether the levels of ex-gratia payments should be revised. Three factors : the wage movement, the financial position of the Fund and the percentage of applicants who were able to receive their entitlements in full, would be taken into account when conducting a review.

30. Members expressed grave concern about the recommendation made by the Law Reform Commission to abolish the preferential payments to employees under the Companies Ordinance. Members strongly objected the recommendation and considered that employees' who had been dismissed with unpaid wages should be given preferential payments in insolvency cases. Members also objected to another proposal to give a fixed proportion of the business registration levy, the major source of income of the Fund, to help fund the Official Receiver's Office. Members present agreed unanimously that the Panel should convey its stance to the Law Reform Commission. Clerk

(Post-meeting note : The Chairman had written a letter to the Law Reform Commission on 31 July 1998 conveying the Panel's objection to the recommendations.)

VI. Statutory regualtion of work arrangements when rainstorm black warning is hoisted
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 93/98-99(05))

31. Mr Andrew CHENG noted from the information paper that the Administration was of the view that statutory regulation of work and pay arrangements in times of rainstorm was not practicable. He enquired whether consideration would be given to allowing employees to take rest day leave on the day when black rainstorm warning was hoisted. DSEM said that the work arrangements in times of rainstorms were complicated issues. The diversified nature and requirements of jobs in different trades and industries, coupled with the need to maintain essential services (e.g. medical care and emergency rescue) and the need for some industries (e.g. hotel) to provide services in inclement weather accounted for the difficulties encountered if legislation for work arrangements was to be formulated. Instead, employers were encouraged and advised to draw up prior work arrangements and contingency measures in times of rainstorms and tropical cyclones.

32. In response to the follow-up questions from the Chairman and Miss CHAN Yuen-han, DSEM said that the Administration had published a Code of Practice in respect of work arrangements in times of typhoons and rainstorms for reference by employers and employees. In addition, the Labour Department would step up its publicity to remind employers of the importance of making proper work arrangements well before the issue of rainstorm warning. He further said that more than half of the 171 enquiries about the work and pay arrangements received by the Labour Department hotlines after the issue of black rainstorm warning on 9 June 1998 came from employers. DSEM reiterated that a prior work arrangements in times of rainstorms were mutually beneficial to both employers and employees.

33. Dr LUI Ming-wah and Mr Kenneth TING shared the views of the Administration that it was impracticable to impose statutory requirement on work arrangements in times of rainstorms. Instead, employers should be encouraged to reach prior work arrangements with their employees. They asked whether the Labour Department would offer assistance to individual firms to draw up the arrangements in the light of different nature and requirements of jobs in different trades. DSEM said that there were already two sample agreements incorporated in the Code of Practice. He said that the Labour Department was most willing to offer assistance in drawing up tailor-made agreements for different trades and industries.

34. Members requested the Administration to provide - Adm

  1. information on the number of employers, who employed more than 50 employees, had already made prior work arrangements in times of rainstorms;

  2. a copy of such work arrangements;

  3. the results of the complaint cases in connection with the black rainstorm warning hoisted on 9 June 1998, e.g. whether the workers concerned could receive their wages or attendance bonus if they had not reported for duty on that day; and

  4. the practices in overseas countries regarding work arrangements between employers and employees in times of adverse weather conditions.

(Post meeting note : After the meeting, C for L advised that the Labour Department had not kept information on the number of employers who had made prior work arrangements in time of rainstorms.)

35. The meeting ended at 6:55 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
9 September 1998