Members of the Legislative Council's finance committee on Friday approved a 2.5 percent salary increase for all civil servants.
Civil Service Secretary Ingrid Yeung told legislators the administration needed to handle salary adjustments carefully this year, noting uncertainty in the economy and that the government expects a HK$56 billion deficit in the current financial year.
Yeung stressed that the Executive Council had considered several factors before coming to the across-the-board pay rise proposal.
The civil service chief said in the future, other information could be released at the same time as the pay trend survey results, such as the state of the economy and changes in the cost of living, so people don't focus solely on the survey findings.
The government-appointed Pay Trend Survey Committee had earlier suggested salary increases of 2.04 percent for junior civil servants, 4.55 percent for middle-ranking workers and 7.26 percent for senior staff.
During the meeting, legislator Chan Siu-hung asked whether the government could consider giving extra pay rises to civil servants who perform well, in order to incentivise them.
In response, Yeung said the work of civil servants is diverse and may not be measurable, for example law enforcement or those who uphold procedural fairness. She questioned whether giving public servants bonuses might affect their original purpose of serving the people.
Officials expect civil servants to receive the adjusted pay from next month, and it will be backdated to April 1.