Rent payments made at your convenience
Convenience stores could become a key element in government plans for a five-day working week.
The stores could be used to collect public housing rents when estate management offices close on Saturdays under the second phase of the changes, due to start next year.
'The government is considering how to implement phase two. Using convenience stores is one of the options for the housing department to collect rent,' Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service So Kam-shing said.
It is common for private companies to use convenience stores for bill collection but no government department or bureau is doing so yet.
The first phase of the five-day- week plan will begin on July 1, with the second phase scheduled to begin on January 1.
The government insists that service hours lost on Saturdays will be fully made up on weekdays, when working hours will be extended by 30 to 45 minutes.
Departments such as inland revenue and transport will also open at lunchtime.
'Our assessment is that the non-provision of the selected government services on Saturdays will have no significant impact on the general public,' Mr So said.
He said departments had introduced or further enhanced alternative means of delivering services, such as through the internet, telephone bookings and drop-in boxes.
In many cases it was no longer necessary for people to attend offices in person, 'but we understand people might need time to adjust to the new work pattern'.
'The government will review operations in August and, where necessary, consider fine-tuning the arrangements.'
Since last month, the government's 24-hour Citizen's Easy Link1823 hotline has received 600 inquiries about the new working hours.
A spokesman said 'more than 10' had called for the new policy to be abandoned.
Information about the five-day week can been obtained at www.info.gov.hk/info/5day.