Government social workers have been allowed more time to register before legal action to sack unregistered staff is taken. The grace period has been extended until the end of this month. After it expires, the Social Welfare Department can report unregistered staff to police and sack them. The extension was gained after staff appealed to the Legislative Council Secretariat's complaints division. But seven government social workers are standing firm, insisting they should not have to be registered. On Tuesday, social worker Florence Cheung Man-wai, who works with non-government organisation Sheung Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre, became the first unregistered staff member to be sacked. The Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union has urged social welfare centres to stop sacking unregistered staff. Under the Social Workers Registration Ordinance, which came into place in June last year, social workers had to register by last Wednesday. Registered staff must follow a code of practice, which will be gazetted later this month. Under the new ordinance, unregistered staff can be fined up to $50,000. So far, 7,883 social workers have registered.