For the first time since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997, the city’s civil servants can expect to get a higher raise in pay than indicated by pay trends, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
The Executive Council decided Tuesday that senior civil servants will get a 3.96 percent raise for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins in April, while lower- and middle-ranked staff will get 4.62 percent.
The figures are each 0.5 percentage point more than the raises recommended by the Pay Trend Survey Committee last month based on a pay trend survey using six indicators.
While civil service unions welcomed the move, the pay raises are lower than the 4.5 percent increase in the city’s consumer price index.
The raises will be backdated to April 1 once civil service groups agree to the pay package.
About HK$8.2 billion (US$1.05 billion) of public money will go to the pay raises each year, HK$900 million more than originally planned, a Civil Service Bureau spokeswoman said.
She said decisions on pay raises are independent from year to year and based on different considerations.
The decision this time is consistent with the existing mechanism despite not being based on “scientific” calculations, the spokeswoman said.
She did not answer questions about whether the additional 0.5 percentage point is related to the lower morale of civil servants after the Occupy movement last year and about which of the six indicators the decision was based on.
Li Wai-yee, who represents the Model Scale 1 Staff Consultative Council, said the pay raises would help raise morale.
However, former secretary for the civil service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said the government should explain the reason for the rare decision to buck the trend.
Wong said it should show it has followed the established mechanism, in which the indicators should be the determining factor unless there is a very special situation.
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