Wage abusers face tougher penalties

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2006, 12:00am

The Housing Department will tighten measures to punish its contractors if they are found to have exploited their workers.

The plan, to be discussed at a Housing Authority meeting today, was aimed at tackling unscrupulous employers who underpaid workers while at the same time receiving government money, according to a Housing Department source.

The proposal is similar to a demerit scheme adopted by the authority in May last year.

Cleaning and security guards companies will be suspended from bidding for government contracts for five years if found guilty three times in a year.

The existing system, however, only bans companies bidding for contracts for one year if they are found guilty of abusing workers six times in the space of a year.

Like the current system, all contractors would also be required to sign written employment contracts specifying the major terms of employment, including wages, working hours and rest days.

Salaries must also be paid by autopay into the workers' bank accounts.

The proposal will be formally introduced in May if it is endorsed in today's meeting.