LC Paper No. CB(2) 1638/98-99(01)

Information Paper for Legislative Council Panel on Public Service

Prevention of Double Housing Benefits for Civil Servants and Staff employed in Publicly Funded Organisations


This paper sets out the prevention of double housing benefits policy, its implementation and enforcement in the civil service, and the corresponding arrangements for the publicly funded organisations.

Prevention of Double Housing Benefits Policy

2. Housing benefits are provided to civil servants on or above MPS 34 or equivalent as a condition of service and to any others on a quota basis or on the basis of policy, subject to resource constraints.

3. For efficient use of Government resources, the provision of civil service housing benefits is subject to the prevention of double housing benefits rules (DBR). Unless otherwise specified in the DBR (e.g. officers directed to live in post-tied department quarters for operational reasons) -

  1. an officer and his spouse may not receive more than one housing benefit at any one time, irrespective of whether or not the benefit is provided by the Government, a publicly funded organisation or a private employer;

  2. once an officer or his spouse has received a civil service housing benefit to achieve home ownership, they will forfeit their entitlement to all other forms of civil service housing benefits; and

  3. if an officer or his spouse is receiving a public housing benefit, the officer will not be eligible to concurrently receive civil service housing benefits.
Implementation and Enforcement in the Civil Service

4. In addition to the Civil Service Regulations on DBR, a CSB Circular Memorandum is circulated at half-yearly intervals to remind officers of the rules and the consequences of not complying with them.

5. Officers applying for any civil service housing benefits are required to state whether they and their spouses are receiving any housing benefits and to declare that the information stated is true and correct. They are required to report any subsequent changes of information contained in their applications or statements to the approving authority (e.g. the Treasury for Home Financing Scheme, Home Purchase Scheme, etc. and Heads of Department for departmental quarters) within a period of 30 days.

6. The approving authority will verify the information provided with Housing Department, other Government departments and any other relevant organisations (e.g. the employer(s) of an officer*s spouse) as necessary.

7. The approving authority will conduct surprise inspections to ensure that officers are personally living in the accommodation in respect of which they are receiving housing assistance from the Government.

8. Officers who fail to comply with the DBR may be disqualified from all forms of civil service housing benefits and be required to refund to the Government, with interest, the benefits they have received. They may also be liable to disciplinary and/or legal proceedings.

Arrangements for Publicly Funded Organisations

9. Civil servants with spouses working in the publicly funded organisation are subject to the DBR. They are not allowed to receive any civil service housing benefits if their spouses are receiving housing benefits from the publicly funded organisations.

10. Publicly funded organisations are independent of the Government. They have the autonomy to set the pay packages of their own employees who are not civil servants under the management of the Government. However, under the general subvention principle that the terms and conditions of service of publicly funded organisations should not be superior to those of the civil service, these organisations are also expected to follow the DBR.

11. Publicly funded organisations are defined in CSR 1600, a copy of which is at Annex I. They are on the distribution list of Civil Service Regulations/Circulars and should be fully aware of the contents of the DBR and any changes made to them. As set out in paragraph 3 above, at any one time, a staff member of a publicly funded organisation and his spouse should not receive more than one housing benefit, irrespective of whether or not the benefits are provided by the same publicly funded organisation, another publicly funded organisation, the Government or a private employer.


12. The objective of the policy on prevention of double housing benefits is to ensure efficient use of Government resources. We strictly enforce the DBR in the civil service and, through the relevant policy bureaux, encourage the publicly funded organisations to do likewise. We keep this policy under review and, where appropriate, update the rules in the light of changing circumstances.

Civil Service Bureau
March 1999

Annex I

Extract from Civil Service Regulations
June 95
"public-funded organization" means an organization which receives public funds which may be used to subsidize its employees to acquire privately-owned accommodation. Examples of public-funded organizations are (in alphabetical order) -
  1. Chinese University of Hong Kong;

  2. City University of Hong Kong (previously City Polytechnic of Hong Kong);

  3. Consumer Council;

  4. Hong Kong Baptist University (previously Hong Kong Baptist College);

  5. Hong Kong Institute of Education;

  6. Hong Kong Monetary Authority;

  7. Hong Kong Polytechnic University (previously Hong Kong Polytechnic);

  8. Hong Kong Productivity Council;

  9. Hong Kong Tourist Association;

  10. Hong Kong Trade Development Council;

  11. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology;

  12. Hospital Authority;

  13. Legislative Council Commission;

  14. Lingnan College;

  15. Regional Council;

  16. University of Hong Kong;

  17. Urban Council; and

  18. Vocational Training Council.