The long Labour Day weekend gave the city much-needed respite from the prolonged coronavirus epidemic, and it also offered a good opportunity to reflect on workers’ rights amid an imminent leadership change. Despite some timely relief for the worst-hit sectors and hard-earned improvements in statutory rights in recent years, labour protection remains a work in progress. Outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said her team had accomplished “exemplary achievements” on this front, citing the five-day statutory paternity leave for men and 14-week maternity leave for women. Commendable as they are, Lam’s legacy in labour protection would not be complete without honouring her promise to scrap the so-called offsetting mechanism under the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme. The process that allows bosses to use pension money to offset severance and long-service payments has long been criticised as eroding workers’ savings. Hong Kong’s domestic workers share their stories of ‘living in’ A bill seeking to phase out the arrangement with government subsidies has been pending lawmakers’ approval since February. Lam’s pledge to spare no effort in enhancing labour protection in her remaining two months in office is to be welcomed. But whether it will dampen calls by some businesses to stall the bill’s passage pending a review by the incoming administration remains to be seen. In any case, labour rights must be further improved regardless of changes in leadership. While there may be more legal amendments to come from the Lam administration, such as raising the ceiling for ex gratia payments under the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund, and also heavier penalties for occupational safety breaches, the undertaking by Lam and her predecessor on promoting standard working hours is regrettably still not going anywhere. Unlike previous polls where chief executive candidates had to commit to a wide range of policies in return for votes from different sectors in the Election Committee, the pressure appears less this time. As the leader-in-waiting, John Lee Ka-chiu must be aware that he has heavy responsibilities. So far he has pledged to review the government’s outsourcing practices, improve workers’ wages and strengthen occupational safety. A lot more can and needs to be done.