Wages cut for toilet breaks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am


A stingy boss has decided to deduct wages from workers for toilet breaks to offset the new minimum wage, a veteran unionist says.

Chan Yuen-han, vice-president of the Federation of Trade Unions, said that was only one of many cases in which some employers were trying to find legal loopholes in the new minimum wage law, set at HK$28 an hour. The law became effective on Sunday.

Chan said the worker who lodged the complaint had her daily wage reduced by HK$14 for the 30 minutes a day she is allowed to spend in the washroom during work hours. She faces further deductions if she spends more time there.

'I am very angry after hearing the complaint,' Chan said. 'We expect unfair employers will figure out more ways of bypassing the new law.'

Chan did not disclose details about the case as the worker was afraid she might lose her job if her boss knew about her complaint.

Former labour-sector lawmaker Kwong Chi-kin, legal adviser to the Councillors' Workers Association, said the Employment Ordinance did not specify employees' entitlements when it came to using washrooms.

However, he said it was possible for the Labour Department to treat the case as an unpaid salary complaint and take legal action against the employer for unreasonable deductions.

The department said the worker could contact its officers for assistance if she wanted.