Civil servants the center of legislative attention

Civil servant welfare should be improved to attract talent, Legislative Council members said yesterday.

Their opinions came during debate on a motion of thanks for Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu's first policy address.

Labor sector representative Dennis Leung Tsz-wing said while authorities emphasize hiring talent and attracting enterprises from overseas they must place the same value on 176,200 civil servants to safeguard their morale.

"There should be an objective pay scale and improved welfare," he said.

Election Committee constituency legislator Lai Tung-kwok was concerned about medical coverage.

He said civil servants under an entry system implemented in June 2000 are not entitled to post-retirement medical welfare, which he found "completely illogical."

As the SAR's biggest employer, Lai said, the government lagged behind private institutions by not providing health insurance for civil servants.

Currently, civil servants can enjoy free medical and dental services from the Department of Health and Hospital Authority.

But Lai said there should be insurance arranged for employees so they can turn to private medical institutions and ease pressure on public hospitals and clinics.

Legislators also asked authorities to state clearly in its revised Civil Service Code - expected in the first quarter of 2023 - about employees needing to pledge allegiance to the administration.