Hong Kong 2003
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Labour Administration and Services

The Labour Department is headed by the Permanent Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Labour) who also assumes the role of the Commissioner for Labour. It formulates and implements labour policies, enforces labour legislation, promotes harmonious labour relations and responsible trade unionism, safeguards employees' rights and benefits and protects the safety, health and welfare of the workforce. It also provides free employment services to employers and job-seekers.

Labour Legislation

The Labour Department administers labour laws in force in the HKSAR. Labour legislation has been enacted which, supplemented by administrative measures, enables Hong Kong to maintain internationally accepted labour standards.

Eight items of labour legislation were enacted in 2003. Among them, the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) Ordinance was amended to improve the benefits provided to employees under the Occupational Deafness Compensation Scheme. The Employees Compensation Assistance Ordinance was amended to make it clear that in the event of insurer insolvency, the Employees Compensation Assistance Fund Board may assist employers regarding legal costs in relation to proceedings brought by their employees for employment-related injuries.

The Construction Sites (Safety) Regulations (CSSR) were amended to improve the safety performance of construction subcontractors by holding both the principal contractor and the subcontractor jointly and severally liable for safety offences. Consequential amendments were also made to the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Lifting Appliances and Lifting Gear) Regulations, the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Suspended Working Platforms) Regulation and the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Loadshifting Machinery) Regulation to reflect the changes arising from the CSSR amendment.

During the year, there were 5 424 prosecutions for breaches of various ordinances and regulations administered by the Labour Department. Fines totalling $29,898,996 were imposed.

International Labour Affairs

The international labour conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) prescribe standards on matters such as labour administration, employment, and occupational safety and health as models for member states. These conventions have a significant influence on the formulation of the HKSAR's labour legislation. On August 8, 2003, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) came into force in the HKSAR. Currently, 41 conventions are applied here. This number compares favourably with most member states of the ILO in the Asia-Pacific region.

The HKSAR continues to participate in the activities of the ILO. In 2003, representatives from the HKSAR participated in the 91st Session of the International Labour Conference as advisers to the delegation of China. The HKSAR also participated in the 17th International Conference of Labour Statisticians as members of China's delegation.

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