80pc of staff in line to benefit
Eva Wu, Phyllis Tsang, Ng Kang-chung
About 80 per cent of the 53,000 disciplined services staff may benefit from the package of recommendations.
These include raising maximum pay, introducing a job-related allowance of HK$2,824 for undercover duties, and cutting working hours. But entry pay for all would stay at the current level.
Under the recommendations, maximum monthly pay for a police constable would rise by 3 per cent, from HK$23,125 to HK23,805.
The standing committee on disciplined services salaries and conditions of service explicitly recommended a reduction in working hours - from 51 to 48 - only for the Customs and Excise Department.
Sources familiar with the situation said the committee encouraged the Fire Services to reduce its 54-hour week, but no details were given.
The committee strongly urged the government to improve medical services for officers of the disciplined services injured on duty.
Meanwhile, the standing commission on civil service salaries and conditions of service also recommended in its report raising the starting pay of veterinary officers by about 9.6 per cent to ease problems in recruiting and keeping staff.
Last year the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department tried to recruit 16 vets but only three eventually reported for duty. The commission said starting pay should increase from HK$40,290 to HK$44,155 - a rise of two points on the pay scale. But the maximum pay point of 44, or HK$77,675 a month, should remain unchanged.
For the ranks of government counsels, the commission was satisfied that the starting point of 32, or HK$46,230, and the maximum point of 44, should remain in place. It recommended revising the increment points at 36 and 40, or HK$55,265 and HK$66,060 respectively, for those with more experience.
The commission said more recognition of good performance, coupled with better prospects for professional development, would foster a sense of achievement among staff, motivating them to continue striving for high standards.