A MORE ambitious alternative package for long-service and severance payments is likely to be put to the Labour Advisory Board for approval at a meeting on Friday, it was learned yesterday. The Government now plans to raise the ceiling of payments from $180,000 as earlier proposed to $260,000. The new ceiling is even higher than the $230,000-mark proposed by legislator Lau Chin-shek in the Legislative Council last week. The limit set for the number of years which can be taken into account remains at 24. The new-look Employment (Amendment) Bill has been unveiled to the board's staff and employers' representatives in discussions over the past few days. But opposition has already been raised by employees' representatives to the Commissioner for Labour, Ip Shu-kwan, in a meeting yesterday. Union representative Leung Fu-wah accused the Government of 'playing tricks' and failing to offer real improvements in compensation to workers. More than 90 per cent of workers who earned average monthly salaries of $7,500 would not receive more than $180,000 unless they had worked for more than 40 years, he said. Mr Leung said it would be meaningless to propose raising the maximum amount any further. He said: 'We have already made it clear that we will not accept the proposal. If the Government insists to put this forward in the meeting on Friday, we will have nothing to say and leave the meeting then.' Mr Leung and another five staff representatives also announced yesterday they would not accept any proposal which fell short of their own suggestions. To be fair to the workers, they said, no limit should be set on countable service years. 'The package should be that the actual number of years they have served will be counted in the compensation,' Li Fung-ying said. The unionists' demands are similar to the private member's bill sponsored by pro-China legislator Tam Yiu-chung. Mr Tam has suggested an amendment that scraps any limit set for counting the number of services years, but maintains the $180,000 ceiling. And an employer representative, Michael Somerville, confirmed Mr Ip had put forward the Government's idea at meetings over the past few days. He said he hoped board members would have a chance to talk to the Government this week. The Secretary for Manpower and Education, Michael Leung Man-kin, said the new package would be tabled in Legco as early as January if the board agreed. He said the new proposal would be better than the two private members' bills put forward last week by Mr Tam and Democrat Michael Ho Mun-ka. Mr Ho's bill was based on Mr Lau's amendment. 'I hope through the [Friday] meeting, both employers' and employees' sides can understand the importance and urgency of having the bill passed,' he said. The Government withdrew the bill last Wednesday after Mr Lau's amendment passed its second reading.