[Archive] Handling labour disputes and claims by the Labour Department
DRAFT LegCo Question No.6
Date of sitting : 21 February 2001
Asked by : Hon LEUNG Fu-wah
Replied by : SEM
Regarding the labour disputes and claims successfully mediated by the Labour Department ("LD"), will the Government inform this Council :
among the labour disputes and claims settled upon mediation by LD in 1999 and 2000, of the number and percentage of cases in which the compensation awarded to the employees concerned was no less than their legal entitlements; and
in respect of the cases successfully mediated, whether LD has investigated if the employers concerned had contravened the requirements of the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) and brought prosecutions against those considered to have breached the law; if so, of the respective numbers of investigations and prosecutions in 1999 and 2000; if not, the reasons for that ?
For the two years of 1999 and 2000, a total of 35 452 labour disputes and claims were settled by the Labour Department (LD) through conciliation. The conciliation service provided by the LD is mainly to enable the employers and the employees to understand the relevant legislative provisions and then to work out an amicable settlement through compromise. When the LD conciliates labour disputes and claims, it does not adjudicate on the amount of compensation that the employees should receive under the law. As such, the LD is unable to ascertain whether the compensation received by the employees is less than the "statutory compensation" in respect of cases settled through conciliation.
If an employer is suspected of breaching the Employment Ordinance, the LD will initiate follow-up and investigation action. If sufficient evidence is found and the employee is willing to act as prosecution witness, the LD will take out prosecution. The LD will not give up prosecution merely because the case has been settled through conciliation. In the year 1999 and 2000, the department has taken out prosecution against employers in 64 cases that had gone through the conciliation process. Among them, 11 cases were successfully settled by conciliation.