Fulfil promise to look into standard working hours, commission tells C.Y.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 August, 2012, 5:32am

A labour group urged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to fulfil his promise to look at instituting standard working hours after most respondents to a recent survey said they were working more than 54 hours a week.

The Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs says its survey of retail workers found that they worked much longer hours than the 48-hour median work week reported by the Census and Statistics Department last year.

More than half the respondents said they worked more than 54 hours a week. The 208 respondents said their long hours at work had worrying implications for their personal lives.

More than 70 per cent of them believed that long working hours affected their family ties and social life. More than half said they were prone to fatigue, felt under pressure at work, and suffered body aches.

Nearly 80 per cent supported legislation for standard working hours, and nearly 90 per cent thought the working week should be capped at 48 hours or less.

Law Pui-shan, a commission policy research officer, said the discussion over legislating standard working hours was at an impasse, as the special committee on the issue that Leung had promised to set up in his election manifesto appeared to have "vanished".

"The government should not just use research as an excuse to delay the legislation. It has to consult different industries," said Law, who urged Leung to start a consultation exercise soon.

She said having legislation to introduce standard working hours would have wider implications than the minimum wage that was introduced last year, as it would benefit everyone, not just workers on low incomes.

Collective bargaining was the most effective way of protecting labour rights, and it would reduce the likelihood of strikes and protests, Law said.