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FAQ > Employer Obligation > F05

Q: Can employees' basic salary be less than minimum wage (if total wages including other wage items do not fall below minimum wage)? View : 67
A:

The definition of wages for SMW is aligned closely with that under the Employment Ordinance. Unless otherwise specified, the term “wages” in the Employment Ordinance means all remuneration, earnings, allowances including travelling allowances, attendance allowances, commission, overtime pay, tips and service charges, however designated or calculated, capable of being expressed in terms of money, payable to an employee in respect of work done or to be done, subject to certain exclusions (Note).

Hence, regardless of the composition of the wage items (e.g. respective amounts of basic salary and other wage items), it will be acceptable if the minimum wage level is met in accordance with the Minimum Wage Ordinance.

Note : According to the Employment Ordinance, the following items are not wages:

i.    the value of any accommodation, education, food, fuel, water, light or medical care provided by the employer;
ii.   employer's contribution to any retirement scheme;
iii.  commission, attendance allowance or attendance bonus which is of a gratuitous nature or is payable only at the discretion of the employer;
iv.  non-recurrent travelling allowance or the value of any travelling concession or travelling allowance for actual expenses incurred by the employment;
v.   any sum payable to the employee to defray special expenses incurred by him by the nature of his employment;
vi.  end of year payment, or annual bonus which is of a gratuitous nature or is payable only at the discretion of the employer;
vii. gratuity payable on completion or termination of a contract of employment.

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