Several legislators have been accused of being overly generous in giving bonuses to their assistants, using taxpayers’ money, Ming Pao Daily reported on Tuesday.
Lawmaker Yiu Si-wing, representing the tourism functional constituency, handed out bonuses equivalent to 1.2 to 2.5 months’ salary to his four assistants, amounting to HK$174,000, in October last year.
Yiu also raised the salary of one of his assistants by 30 percent to more than HK$36,000.
Councilor Christopher Cheung Wah-fung of the financial services functional constituency gave his assistants HK$230,000 in bonuses, equivalent to 1.5 to two months’ salary, last September.
One of his assistants is getting $65,000 a month, which, together with a bonus, amounted to HK$195,000 for that month.
Legislators who gave bonuses equivalent to less than a month’s pay to their staff included Poon Siu-ping, Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung and Tommy Cheung Yu-yan.
Responding to the criticism, Yiu said he has been very careful in using taxpayers’ money for staff remuneration and never promised his assistants that there would be bonuses.
He said he has only a handful of staff who receive moderate salary levels despite their tremendous workload.
Cheung Wah-fung denied his assistants received bonuses equivalent to two months’ pay, noting that there could have been a “mistake” in the computations.
He did admit that he had promised his assistants a double pay in the event his office records a surplus.
Political commentator Ivan Choy said lawmakers should not compare themselves with private companies in handing out bonuses to staff because the money they are using come from taxpayers.
Choy also noted that the lawmakers who paid their assistants handsomely are all from functional constituencies, which have a relatively smaller voter base and therefore face less pressure.
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