Staff of the Hong Kong Productivity Council will receive bonus pay this year as a reward for keeping the organisation in surplus, its executive director Wilson Fung Wing-yip said. The council introduced a system of variable pay - the equivalent of bonuses in private companies - in 2007. Around 65 per cent of its 559 employees are eligible for it. 'The top performing 15 per cent will receive a one-off payment equivalent to 80 per cent of his monthly salary. Another 40 per cent will receive 60 per cent of a month's salary,' he said. But staff above the rank of general manager, including Mr Fung, are not eligible for the variable pay. Mr Fung said the council could afford to pay a bonus to staff despite the economic downturn because it was able to generate a surplus of HK$9 million, owing to its employees' effort. Conscientious cost-saving measures, including cutting medical benefits, shutting down less-used escalators and turning off idle computers, were important factors. 'Rationalising the medical benefit scheme alone enabled us to save about HK$2.3 million last year.' Given its performance, Mr Fung said the council has no plans to cut staff but will in fact recruit 15 interns under the internship programme offered by the government's Innovation and Technology Fund. 'We receive HK$10,000 from the government for every intern we recruit, but we will pay them at a rate equal to a regular consultant at HK$14,585. The council will pay the difference,' he said. 'We now have an annual staff turnover of between 14 and 15 per cent, so it is important we train our consultants and let them grow with the organisation. This will build a sense of belonging among staff as well.' The council also plans to recruit nine trainee consultants from graduates of local tertiary institutions. Underlining the importance of new business ventures, Mr Fung said the council was keen to support the government bid to introduce electric cars and promote creative industries.