Hong Kong’s civil servants could get pay hikes of up to 4.5 percent this year if the government accepts the recommendations put forward by a official panel.
The 2018 Pay Trend Survey, released on Wednesday by a government-sponsored committee, has suggested that the salaries of lower-rung bureaucrats be raised by 2.84 percent and that of middle-ranking staff by 4.51 percent.
Pay revision for the highest earners, meanwhile, was proposed at 4.06 percent, according to the survey which dealt with the salary levels of about 170,000 civil servants in the city.
The survey, conducted between April 2 last year and April 1 this year, looked at salary changes in the private sector so as to use them as reference to use decide pay rises for civil servants.
It covered 157,504 employees in 112 companies, of which 86 had 100 or more staff, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The results suggested the gross pay trend indicator for civil servants with the upper salary band was 5.25 percent, while those with the middle salary band and lower salary band were at 5.63 percent and 4.89 percent, respectively.
After deducting the payroll cost of increments, the actual increase recommended for civil servants would be 4.06 percent for the upper salary band, 4.51 percent for the middle band and 2.84 percent for the lower band.
Notwithstanding the different revision levels proposed for the three salary groups, we can expect that civil servants in the lower salary band will get the same pay rise as those in the middle band, going by what the government actually did in the past.
In the last fiscal year that ended in March, Hong Kong’s civil servants with upper salary band received a pay rise of 1.88 percent, while those from the middle and lower salary bands saw their wages revised by 2.94 percent.
The new government study was submitted to members of the Pay Trend Survey Committee (PTSC) on Wednesday.
Calling the pay rises suggested by the survey report “quite good”, PTSC chairman Wilfred Wong Kam-pui said the new figures are significantly higher than those of last year due to a better local economy.
“The economic progress of Hong Kong … for the second half of last year and the beginning of this year is better than the previous year. I believe all of the employers and the commercial sector are taking a positive approach” in adjusting their salaries, RTHK quoted him as saying.
Steven Wong Hung-lok, chairman of the Senior Government Officers Association, pointed out that the government hired more people in the past year, which led to higher payroll cost of increments.
Although Steven Wong considered this year’s survey results “acceptable”, he urged the government to put a cap on the deduction of the payroll cost of increments so as to avoid having a negative impact on civil servants’ morale.
For example, Steven Wong suggested that the ratio of the payroll cost of increments to the total salary expenditures be capped at 10 percent for high-ranking civil servants this year, translating to a deduction of only 0.52 percentage point instead of 1.19 as the survey recommended and helping the pay rise for them to be 4.73 percent compared to the recommended 4.06 percent.
The PTSC is scheduled to meet next Thursday to confirm the survey results and finalize the recommendations, which will then be submitted to the government for a final decision.
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