The government has accepted a recommendation for raising the statutory minimum wage to HK$30 per hour – from HK$28 – starting sometime next year, the labour minister said on Wednesday. The new rate could come into effect on May 1 at the earliest, if the government's proposal was passed in the Legislative Council next week, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said. Cheung said it was estimated the 7.1 per cent increase in the wage level would benefit more than 327,000 workers. The increase rate has been approved by the Executive Council and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. The new level was proposed to the government by the 13-member Minimum Wage Commission in October following a review. Before agreeing on the HK$2 rise, employee representatives on the commission had pushed for raising the minimum wage rate to HK$33, while those representing employers wanted it to stay at HK$28. Hong Kong first introduced a minimum wage of HK$28 per hour in May last year.