Civil servants are on track to receive a pay rise of up to 7.26 percent after a two-year freeze on their salaries.
The latest pay trend survey released on Wednesday recommended salary increases of 2.04 percent for junior civil servants, 4.55 percent for middle-ranking workers and 7.26 percent for senior staff – after deducting the costs on increments.
Lee Luen-fai, chairman of the government-appointed Pay Trend Committee, said the proposals took into account the changes in salaries of nearly 130,000 employees in some 110 companies in the past year.
He believes the figures accurately reflect the situation in the job market, noting the economy had grown by around six percent last year.
"We just reflect the market," said Lee. "To me it's correct and accurate figures. We accept that."
Lee also pointed out that the majority of the companies it surveyed had decided on their own pay adjustments before February and private companies may have spent more on bonuses to retain senior managers, and this, in turn, had contributed to the higher pay rise suggested for senior government officers.
He said the committee would discuss the figures with civil service unions before submitting them to the government for consideration next week.
The Civil Service Bureau said it had received the tentative findings and that the Executive Council will consider a range of factors before deciding the final pay awards.
A spokesman said these include the state of Hong Kong's economy, the government's fiscal position, changes in the cost of living and civil service morale.
The government has frozen the salaries of the 180,000-strong civil service in the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The president of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association, Li Kwai-yin, said the latest survey results aren't very useful as a reference, saying the economy has been distorted by the pandemic and the poll didn't include companies that were badly affected by the Covid outbreaks.
She said the pay freeze in the past two years had affected morale and public servants were under a lot of pressure as they were the "backbone" of anti-epidemic work.
Li added that the association will make a counter-proposal that focuses on catching up with inflation. “Catching up the inflation rate, actually it brings no actual increase to salary, it’s just to maintain the purchasing power and also to avoid the salary from being eroded by the ever-rising inflation rate. So hopefully, by focusing on this factor we hope that the public can accept it."
The chairman of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, Leung Chau-ting, meanwhile, said he was pleasantly surprised by the results as he had expected a wage deduction.
He called on the government to accept the recommendations in the current form in order to retail talents and boost morale.
Last updated: 2022-05-18 HKT 18:59