Part-time jobs for Hong Kong students: Things you need to know

  • There are labour laws in the city that are designed to protect teenage employees
  • There is also a minimum wage of HK$37.50 per hour, and this applies to part-time as well
Jamie Lam |

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Your first job can be an exciting experience, but remember to know your rights.

There are many benefits to getting a part-time job while you’re still in school. For one, you’ll earn some extra money to finally satisfy your craving and try that fancy buffet at the Peninsula (or is that just me?). You’ll also learn the value of a dollar, and how much work goes into earning a living.

A third benefit is that you’ll learn about basic business etiquette and how professionals behave in a workplace environment, which will be really useful when you properly enter the job market in a few years’ time.

But before you rush off to your nearest Uniqlo to grab a job application and become the top salesperson in your district, here’s some basic information about labour laws here.

Can teenagers work in Hong Kong?

Under the city’s labour laws, you cannot be employed unless you have turned 13. Some restrictions apply if you’re 13 years old or older but not yet 15, and you have already completed Form Three. You will need to show your employer written proof that your parents agree to let you work. You are not allowed to work before 7am or after 7pm, and you’re not allowed to be asked to regularly carry things that weigh more than 18kg.

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If you are 13 or older but under 15 years old and you have NOT completed Form Three, there are some additional rules. Most important of these is you cannot work during school hours and you are prohibited from working in certain places (such as a restaurant where alcohol is served, or a factory with dangerous machines).

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Minimum wage and signing a contract of employment

Hong Kong’s minimum wage is HK$37.50 per hour, and this applies to part-time work as well. When you are hired for a job, you will have to sign an employment contract. Make sure this clearly states how much you will be paid per hour and what the notice period is (how far in advance either you or your boss must tell the other person before ending the job).

Your employer is required to give you a physical copy of the employment contract, and also provide an updated one if any of the terms change.

Benefits under a continuous contract

Although you’ll probably only be working on a part-time basis, it’s still good to know that under Hong Kong’s labour laws, you are entitled to additional benefits if you work 18 hours or more per week. These include being paid for working on public holidays,and getting paid annual leave, sickness allowance and others.

Employers are also required to have insurance coverage for accidents that happen on their premises. Most big corporations buy an insurance policy for all of their branches, but if you want to know more specific details, you can always ask your employer.

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Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF)

The MPF is the government’s way of forcing you to save money for your retirement. It only applies to workers aged 18 or over who have worked for the same company for 60 days or more. It will probably not affect you right now, but it’s still useful to have some basic information about it.

If you fulfil the above requirements, you will have five per cent of your wages taken automatically each month (up to a maximum of HK$1,500) and put into an MPF account. Your employer will also match your contribution. You cannot withdraw this money until you are 65 years old (or 60 if you decide to retire early).

You can decide how to invest the money in your MPF account through the government-approved broker that your company uses, but you cannot take it out until you retire.

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