As of 15 March 2023, the Legislative Council has approved the Minimum Wage Ordinance (“MWO”) (Amendment of Schedule 3) Notice 2023 for the Statutory Minimum Wage (“SMW”) rate to be raised by HK$2.5 from HK$37.5 to HK$40 per hour, with effect from Labour Day this year, 1 May 2023. The change came as a result of the recommendation made by the Minimum Wage Commission (the “Commission”) which was adopted by the Chief Executive in Council on 10 January 2023. The Commission reviews and makes recommendations regarding the SMW at least once every two years in accordance with the MWO. However, this is the first increase in SMW since 2019 following the government’s decision to freeze it at HK$37.5 in 2020.
Along with the Minimum Wage Ordinance notice, the Legislative Council also approved the Employment Ordinance (“EO”) (Amendment of Ninth Schedule) Notice 2023 which will come into force on the same day as the SMW rise. Section 49A of the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) requires employers to record the total number of hours worked by an employee in a wage period if they are paid less than a specified amount. That amount is currently HK$15,300 but it will go up by HK$1,000 to HK$16,300 on 1 May 2023.
Employers should ensure they comply with these new requirements as they could face prosecution for any breach. Upon conviction, employers who fail to pay employees the SMW may be subject to a maximum fine of HK$350,000 and imprisonment for 3 years, and employers who fail to keep proper wage and employment records may be liable to a fine of HK$10,000.