Minimum wage hike inadequate for living costs, say HK labour groups

A recent revision has labour groups clamouring for a more regular review and increment of the minimum wage in Hong Kong.
By: | May 4, 2023

Several non-governmental organisations and labour rights groups in Hong Kong are calling for a bigger rise of the minimum hourly wage rate after a recent review raised the wage limit from HK$37.5 (US$4.78) to HK$40 (US$5.10), a  6.7% wage increase from before. 

The groups, which include the Society for Community Organisation (SoCO), the League of Social Democrats (LSD), Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor (HKLRM), as well as the pro-establishment Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU), are saying that the HK$2.5 increase that was set is not sufficient, considering the accumulated inflation rate of 7.5% over the past four years, according to figures released by Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department.

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Criticism against the current wage increase included the fact that the recent raise was still low and did not meet the basic needs of employees in a holistic manner, with groups encouraging employers in the financial hub to pay a “living wage’, estimated to be at least HK$60.10 (US$7.66) this year. The groups also called for the minimum wage review to be conducted on a yearly basis instead of biennially.

Pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), meanwhile, is proposing  using the hourly rate of the lowest-earning 10 per cent of employees in the market as a reference point for the minimum wage, so as to eliminate the need for annual reviews, reported HKFP.