CE accepts proposed pay rises for political officials

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has accepted recommendations from an independent commission to increase the salaries of politically appointed officials by around 2.6 percent from July 1.

The government introduced a pay freeze for principal officials, including secretaries, undersecretaries and political assistants, in 2020 and 2021 as it sought to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic. Their salaries have since been kept at the levels of July 2019.

But Lam has now accepted recommendations to increase their salaries in line with rises in the consumer price index over the past two years.

Under the proposed changes, bureau secretaries would receive a monthly salary of HK$357,150, up from HK$348,100 at the moment.

Undersecretaries could earn between HK$232,150 and HK$267,850 per month, while political assistants could get up to HK$125,000 each month.

In a statement, a government spokesman said the decision restores the officials’ salaries to their original levels and should not be seen as a pay rise.

The government also accepted a new recommendation to allow politically appointed officials to accumulate up to 33 working days of annual holidays, instead of 22 days at present, and cash out up to 11 days of annual leave when they quit their jobs.

It said these recommendations will be passed to the Office of the Chief Executive-elect for consideration.