Director given suspended sentence for wage breaches in Hong Kong

Employer failed to pay employees wages worth $225,000

Director given suspended sentence for wage breaches in Hong Kong

The director of two companies has received a suspended sentence for wage-related breaches under Hong Kong's Employment Ordinance (EO).

The Eastern Magistrates' Courts ordered a six-week imprisonment suspended for two years for the director of United City Group Limited and FOM Supplies Limited.

In a statement, Hong Kong's Labour Department said the director failed to pay six employees their wages totalling about $225,000 within seven days after the expiry of the wage periods and termination of their employment contracts.

The director also failed to pay the awarded sums with about $161,000 within 14 days after the date set by the Labour Tribunal (LT).

The director was prosecuted and convicted for his consent, connivance, or neglect for the offences, according to the Labour Department.

The individual pleaded guilty to the breaches at the Eastern Magistrates' Courts on Friday.

No tolerance for EO breaches

A spokesperson from the Labour Department underscored that the agency will "not tolerate these offences and will spare no effort" in enforcing the law.

"The judgment will disseminate a strong message to all employers, directors, and responsible officers of companies that they have to pay wages to employees within a statutory time limit stipulated in the EO, as well as the sums awarded by the LT or the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Hong Kong's Employment Ordinance states that an employer should "should pay wages to an employee as soon as practicable but in any case not later than seven days after the end of the wage period."

If the employer failed to pay within seven days, the EO said they would be required to pay interest on the outstanding amount of wages.

"An employer who wilfully and without reasonable excuse fails to pay interest on the outstanding amount of wages to the employee is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of $10,000," the EO read.

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