XI. Internship

A. Statutory minimum wage

1. Current Policy

The current statutory minimum wage (SMW) is now set at $30 per hour as at 1 May 2013. It is calculated by multiplying the total number of hours worked by the employee in the wage period by the SMW rate. According to section 6 of the Minimum Wage Ordinance ( Cap. 608 ), “a payment made to an employee in any wage period for any time that is not hours worked by the employee MUST NOT be counted as part of the wages payable in respect of that or any other wage period”. This means the remuneration for total number of hours worked should not include rest day pay, holiday pay, annual leave pay, or sick allowance, etc.

Section 2 of the Employment Ordinance ( Cap. 57 ) states that wages as defined refers to all remuneration, earnings, allowances such as travelling allowances, attendance allowances, commission, and overtime pay, etc. Therefore, if the employers have paid wages to the employees in that wage period lower than the statutory minimum wage, additional remunerations must be paid.

2. Deductions from wages

According to section 32 of the Employment Ordinance ( Cap. 57 ), certain items can be deducted from the wages payable but must be included in the calculation of the minimum wage. These items may include, but are not limited to, damage to or loss of goods, meals, accommodation, recovery of any advance or over-payment of wages, recovery of any loan made to the employee by the employer, etc.

3. Exemptions under the Ordinance

Youth employees should be aware of whether or not the Minimum Wage Ordinance ( Cap. 608 ) applies to them. Normally, the ordinance applies to every employee, his or her employer and the contract of employment under which he or she is engaged. However, section 7(4) and (5) of the Ordinance states that it does not apply to student interns and work experience students during a period of exempt student employment.

Student Interns

To be a student intern, as defined in section 2 of the ordinance, the student employees should be:

  1. enrolled in full-time accredited programmes being provided by local education institutions, or resident in Hong Kong and enrolled in full-time education programmes for non-local academic qualification at the degree or higher level;
  2. having an internship arranged or endorsed by the educational institutions providing the programmes or arising from a compulsory or elective component of such programmes.

There is no restriction on the age of participants or the duration of the internship.

Exempted work experience student

To be an exempted work experience student, he or she should also be enrolled in the same kind of programme as stated in point (i) or (ii) above. However, unlike a student intern, the work experience student does not necessarily need to take part in an internship arranged or endorsed by the educational institutions providing the programmes or have the work related to a curriculum. Additional requirements are that the work experience student should be under the age of 26 years at the beginning of the employment and as stated in section 3 , the period of exemption can at most be a continuous period of up to 59 days. There should at most be only one period of exempt student employment during the same calendar year. The student employee also has to make a statutory declaration verifying this fact and provide the declaration (or copy) to the employer.