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1. Introduction

The Minimum Wage Ordinance (Cap. 608) came into operation on 1 May 2011.


Since then, the Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW) has become effective on 1 May 2011 and the initial Statutory Minimum Wage rate is $28 per hour. With effect from 1 May 2023, the SMW rate is revised to $40 per hour. In essence, wages payable to an employee in respect of any wage period, when averaged over the total number of hours worked in the wage period, should be no less than the SMW rate.


An employee is entitled to be paid wages in respect of any wage period of not less than the minimum wage. If wages payable to the employee in respect of the wage period are less than the minimum wage, he is entitled to be paid the difference (i.e. additional remuneration).




Failure to pay minimum wage amounts to a breach of the wage provisions. Under the Employment Ordinance, an employer who wilfully and without reasonable excuse fails to pay wages to an employee when it becomes due is liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of $350,000 and to imprisonment for three years.


Labour Department Guidelines


Statutory Minimum Wage: Reference Guidelines for Employers and Employees

Concise Guide to Statutory Minimum Wage