Alliance wants review of minimum wage law's rules on disabled staff

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


An alliance may apply for a judicial review to fight for the labour rights of disabled workers under the new minimum wage law.

Under the law, which took effect on Sunday, disabled people may ask to undergo an assessment of their abilities in an effort to show that they deserve higher pay rates.

'Employers could sack workers if they [employers] did not agree or were not satisfied with the result [of the assessment], without violating the Disability Discrimination Ordinance,' said former social welfare-sector legislator Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, convenor of a minimum wage concern alliance.

This aspect of the law might contravene international human rights laws and the principles of the minimum wage ordinance, he added.

'It's unfair for the employees to take up all these negative consequences,' he said.

The group's demand came as a caller to an RTHK phone-in programme yesterday said her 45-year-old mildly mentally impaired son, who works at a McDonald's in Wong Tai Sin, had had his hours cut this week. 'We just hoped that he could earn a small sum of money to help our family, but now they have cut his work hours so that he earns less,' the mother said.

Before the minimum wage took effect, the man earned HK$93.60 for working four hours a day at an hourly rate of HK$23.40. Now he works only an hour and a half a day, for HK$42.

The mother said the family had asked for the son to take part in a productivity assessment, but the fast food chain refused.

McDonald's did not say why it had cut the worker's hours.

However, last night it said it would restore the man's original working hours. He had been with the company for 20 years. It added that the company would continue offering wages and benefits in line with the law to its 14,000 workers.

Ng Wai-tung of the Society for Community Organisation said employers were looking for ways to get around the law. Some security guards and cleaners earning HK$13.20 to HK$17 an hour were being asked to lie about their wages, Ng said.

'These workers can only say 'yes' or quit since they do not have any bargaining power,' he said.

Working it out

Campaigners are concerned about the new minimum wage law

Guards and cleaners are allegedly being asked to lie about their hourly rates, which can be, in HK dollars, just: $17