Hong Kong Relaxes “Continuous Contracts”



Employers and labour unions applauded the government advisory council for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s proposal to redefine “continuous contracts,” which would have reduced the required minimum working hours from 72 to 68 over the course of four weeks.

More than 10,000 workers, according to the Labour Advisory Board, would profit, costing businesses in the city an extra HK$150 million (US$19.2 million). This change is in line with Chief Executive John Lee’s pledge to assist local workers, as stated in his 2023 Policy Address, pending ratification by the city assembly.

Furthermore, current regulations provide that workers who work 18 hours a week for the same company for four weeks or more are classified as being on a “continuous contract,” which entitles them to benefits including paid annual leave, sick leave, and statutory holiday pay. The suggested change eliminates the weekly 18-hour commitment and settles on 68 hours of work spread over four weeks.

Furthermore, the measure was supported by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), which anticipated benefits for part-time workers and increased engagement in the labour market. The federation calculated that this change will benefit about 200,000 workers who are not currently on “continuous contract.”

Related link: Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Improves Staff Benefits

In order to encourage more women and middle-aged people to return to the workforce, Lam Wai-kong, Vice-Chairman of the FTU, who represents workers on the board, stated his support for the reform. He did, however, issue a warning that certain firms would try to take short cuts.

Ricky Chan, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong businesses, represents employers on the board and hopes that the change will help ease the labour shortage that many of the city’s businesses are currently facing. He said that the new policies would force company owners to spend more on part-time workers and asked the government to stimulate the economy right now, stressing that a brighter economic future would help firms hire more people, according to China Daily.

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