Employer fined for wage offence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 June, 2006, 12:00am

Updated at 7.00pm:
Construction firm Fleshup Company was fined $18,000 at the Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts on Monday for failing to pay wages to an employee within seven days of the expiry of the wage period as required by the Employment Ordinance.

The prosecution was launched by the Labour Department and the amount of wages involved was about $36,000.

In addition to paying the fine, the employer was ordered to clear owed wages with the employee via the court.

According to Section 23 of the Employment Ordinance, wages due upon expiry of the last day of the wage period must be paid as soon as practicable, but not later than seven days.

A spokesman of the Labour Department said that the maximum penalty for wage offences had been raised from March 30 this year - with the fine going up from $200,000 to $350,000 and the imprisonment term rising from one year to three years. Failure to pay interest on the outstanding amount of wages is also subject to prosecution and, upon conviction, a fine of $10,000.

'If wages are not paid in a month after they become due, an employee may deem the contract of employment terminated by the employer without any notice, and is entitled to wages in lieu of notice in addition to other statutory and contractual termination payments,' the spokesman added.

But too avoid disputes, he reminded employees to inform their employer when exercising such rights.

The spokesman also urged employees who were owed wages to report to the department's complaint line on tel: 2815 2200.