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Labour Tribunal Awards: Criminal Penalties For Non-Payment

Labour Tribunal Awards: Criminal Penalties For Non-Payment

Labour Tribunal Awards: Criminal Penalties For Non-Payment

Friday, 14 May 2010 12:56

 

An amendment to the Employment Ordinance that will make employers liable to criminal prosecution if they fail to pay any sum awarded by the Labour Tribunal (or Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board) will come into force imminently.

 

Once in force, an employer will commit an offence if they willfully and without reasonable excuse fail to pay the awarded sum within 14 days from date it is due.

 

The penalties are severe and comprise a fine of up to HK$350,000 and 3 years imprisonment. This brings the penalty in line with the maximum penalty that can be imposed for non payment of wages offences under the current Employment Ordinance.

 

If the non-payment is as a result of the “consent, connivance or neglect of a director or responsible person” of a corporate body, then that director or responsible person will commit an offence. The same applies for partners of a firm and the penalties are equally severe.

 

As can be seen from the regular reports of fines against employers and directors as a result of non-payment of wages, it should be expected that the Labour Tribunal and Magistrates Courts will be equally robust in prosecuting employers who breach these new rules by imposing heavy fines on both employers and their management.



This article is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and readers should not regard this article as a substitute for detailed advice in individual instances.