Minimum Wage for Hong Kong, Good or Bad?
Hong Kong is about to enact its first minimum wage, which will likely be around 28 Hong Kong dollars, or US$3.61, per hour. Legislation to enact a minimum wage was passed in July and is part of the government’s efforts to address Hong Kong’s worsening wealth gap. But opinion is divided on whether setting a wage floor will help or harm workers as well as the overall economy.
香港即将制定首个最低工资标准，有可能为每小时28 港元左右，也就是约3.61 美元。香港政府7 月份通过最低工资法案，这是政府为解决香港日益严重的贫富不均现象所采取的一个措施。制定最低工资标准究竟会对工人及整体经济产生何种影响，各界人士对此意见不一。
Professor Francis Lui, who teaches economics at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, face off on the issue.
“Having a minimum wage simply means there is a transfer of income from people at the bottom of the wage scale to people who are slightly above them. Only if Hong Kong’s total economic output increases and social mobility improves can more people share the pie. Unless Hong Kong can manage the huge flows of low-cost and low-skilled workers coming across the border each day, there will continuously be a segment of the population which lives in poverty.“ Professor Francis Lui, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, said.
But Lee Cheuk-yan disagreed with him. He said“Once minimum wage is implemented, there will be an immediate knock-on effect when people’s take-home pay goes up. Plus, the business decision to lay off workers isn’t only due to minimum wage. It was already triggered by high rents-it’s the root of all evil.“