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Monday, December 12, 2016, 20:38

Hong Kong govt proposes salary hike for secretaries serving next term


HONG KONG – The city’s government on Monday proposed a 12.4-percent salary increase for directors of bureaux serving the next-term government. If implemented, it will be the first salary increase since the political appointments system was introduced in 2002.

Briefing the proposal in front of the media on Monday, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said currently there is no annual adjustment mechanism for the remuneration of politically appointed officials and their pay levels have remained the same as approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in 2002.

As a result, the real value of their salary has declined substantially due to inflation over the years, he said, adding that the proposed pay raise level was concluded with consideration of the consumer price index since 2012.

A new salary mechanism will also be applied to keep the annual salary adjustment of the SAR government’s principal officials in line with movements of the consumer price index, a measure of inflation.

The political appointment system was introduced by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 2002. The system requires that principal officials including the chief secretary, financial secretary, secretary for justice and directors of government bureau be nominated and reported by the Chief Executive to the central government for appointments.

In 2007, two extra layers of politically appointed officials – undersecretaries and political assistants – were added to the system to better assist the principal officials. According to Tam, the salary adjustment will also apply to them as their salary level has remained unchanged since the posts were created.

Under the proposal, secretaries of departments will continue to enjoy remuneration 3.5 percent higher than that of directors of bureaux, while deputy directors of bureaux will receive remuneration at 65 to 75 percent that of the directors of bureaux. Political assistants’ salary will be capped at 35 percent of that of directors of bureaux.

The current monthly income for directors of bureaux is HK$298,115, while the chief secretary earns HK$330,565.

The recommendations were made by the government-appointed Independent Commission on Remuneration for Members of the Executive Council and the Legislature, and Officials under the Political Appointment System. The Chief Executive-in-Council accepted the recommendations on Nov 29.

According to Tam, the government will submit the proposal for LegCo discussion next Monday and will implement it in July 2017 following LegCo’s approval.

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