How to Seek Voluntary Conciliation Service for Free
For employers and employees who have labour-management conflicts, such as wage claims or interest disputes and cannot resolve these by themselves, they may seek voluntary conciliation service from the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department.
Conciliation service is provided free of charge. It offers an informal, time-saving and simple way to assist employers and employees in establishments outside the government sector to resolve any employment claims or disputes arising from the Employment Ordinance, the Minimum Wage Ordinance or the terms in their employment contracts. Records show that most employment claims and disputes can be satisfactorily resolved through conciliation.
How can the Labour Relations Division help?
Conciliation service is accessible to both employers and employees. Brief information on the procedures involved in seeking conciliation service is provided below:
- In the case of a claim or dispute, either party may approach the nearest Labour Relations Division branch office of his workplace for consultation.
- The staff at the branch office will interview the enquirer to understand the issue involved and explain the rights and obligations of the employer/employee under the relevant ordinance and the employment contract.
- If the party concerned requires conciliation, a meeting for the purpose will be arranged, and the other party will be requested in writing to attend the conciliation meeting at the scheduled time.
- During the conciliation meeting, the conciliation officer will assist both parties to explore the crux of the problem concerned, analyse the situation and seek a mutually acceptable settlement.
- If a settlement can be reached, the conciliation officer will assist in drawing up a settlement agreement for signature by both parties where necessary. If monetary compensation is involved, the conciliation officer will also assist to make arrangements for payment.
- Attendance at conciliation meeting is voluntary for both parties. If either party fails to attend the meeting or if no settlement is reached, the conciliation officer will arrange another meeting or, at the request of the party concerned, refer him to seek adjudication at the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board or the Labour Tribunal, depending on the claim amount, for resolution.
- For insolvency cases in which an employer or a company cannot pay wages in arrears or other payments, the employee will be referred to the Legal Aid Department for assistance in instituting winding-up/bankruptcy proceedings, and will be assisted to apply for ex gratia payment from the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund.
Please refer to the following for more information on the conciliation service, the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board, the Labour Tribunal, and for employees’ rights when their employers become insolvent.Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations DivisionA Simple Guide to the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication BoardLabour TribunalEmployees’ Right in case of their Employers’ Insolvency
In-person consultation service
The Labour Relations Division also provides consultation service for members of the public who make in-person enquiries about provisions of the Employment Ordinance, the Statutory Minimum Wage Ordinance, terms of their employment contracts and labour relations matters. This enables the enquirers to understand their rights and obligations in employment, and helps avoid misunderstanding and dispute between employers and employees so as to foster a harmonious workplace.
Brief information on provisions under the Employment Ordinance and the Minimum Wage Ordinance can be found below.Employment Ordinance at a GlanceConcise Guide to Statutory Minimum Wage
Contacts of the Labour Relations Division
The Labour Relations Division operates through a network of 10 branch offices throughout the territory. Contact information of these offices is given below.Contact Information of Offices of the Labour Relations Division