Cases of default in payment of wages
Date of Meeting: 17 January 2001
Asked by : Hon Andrew CHENG
Replied by : SEM
Regarding employers who default on payment of wages to their employees, will the Government inform this Council:
- of the total number of such cases (other than those in which the employers have become insolvent) received by the Labour Department over the past three years, and the number of employees involved in such cases; and
- among such cases in (a), the number of those in which the Labour Tribunal ruled that the employers concerned had defaulted on payment of wages to their employees; the respective numbers of cases in which the employers complied and did not comply with the orders made by the Labour Tribunal in respect of their default on payment of wages; and the number of successful prosecutions against the employers for non-compliance with such orders?
|a.|| The Labour Department (LD) has handled 20 555 claims against nonpayment of wages over the past three years. However, the LD has not kept any record of the number of employees involved in such cases.
The above figure includes all cases in which employees complained about employers' failure to comply with the legal requirements to pay wages when they lodged their claim. There is no statistical breakdown of the reasons for non-compliance, such as insolvency or wilful default.
|b.|| Over the past three years, the Labour Tribunal (LT) has handled a total of 13 855 claims for nonpayment of wages. Since the LT does not keep track of or collate statistics on its rulings, the number of cases in which the LT ruled that the employers concerned had in fact defaulted on payment of wages to their employees is not available.
According to the provisions of the Labour Tribunal Ordinance, a final award or order of the LT which has been registered in the District Court shall become a judgment of the District Court and may be enforced accordingly.
Under the District Court Ordinance and the Rules of the District Court, the District Court may, for the effective enforcement of an award or order made by the LT, make various orders including seizure and sale of property of the debtor, requiring the bank in which the debtor has deposited money to make payment to the creditor from the debtor's account, imposing charges on any land or interest in land of the debtor, prohibiting the debtor from leaving Hong Kong, etc.
Information from the Judiciary shows that in the past three years the District Court has made a total of 805 orders in respect of the enforcement of awards or orders made by the LT. As the Judiciary has not categorized the claims involved, the number of orders made by the District Court for the purpose of enforcing the LT's awards or orders in relation to non-payment of wages is not available.